Bank of America Customer Service Scam: Beware!!

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  • Post published:February 16, 2024
  • Post category:Reviews

Bank of America is one of the largest banks in the United States, with millions of customers across the country. Unfortunately, scammers often take advantage of well-known brand names like Bank of America to try and steal money or personal information from unsuspecting customers.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explain what the Bank of America customer service scam is, provide tips on how to identify it, and give advice on what you should do if you fall victim.

What is the Bank of America Customer Service Scam?

The Bank of America customer service scam typically starts with a phone call, email, or text message that appears to come from a legitimate Bank of America phone number, email address, or sender ID. The message will often:

  • Claim there is suspicious activity on your account
  • State that your account has been compromised or frozen
  • Request personal information like account numbers, Social Security number, or passwords
  • Provide a fake verification code and ask you to give it back to them
  • Ask you to transfer money or purchase gift cards for “security reasons”

Of course, the call is not actually from Bank of America at all. It is a scammer impersonating Bank of America in order to steal your money or identity.

Some key points about this scam:

  • Scammers often spoof legitimate Bank of America phone numbers, email addresses, and sender IDs, so the call/message appears authentic.
  • They will sound professional and urgently claim there is an issue with your account that needs to be resolved immediately.
  • Their goal is to scare you into giving them personal information or comply with requests like sending money. Don’t fall for it!

How to Identify the Bank of America Customer Service Scam

Learning to recognize the signs of the Bank of America customer service scam can help you avoid becoming a victim:

You Didn’t Initiate Contact

Legitimate representatives from Bank of America will never contact you out of the blue regarding suspicious activity on your account. If you get an unexpected call or message claiming there is a problem, be skeptical.

Urgency and Threats

Scammers want to panic you into acting quickly without thinking it through. Be wary of any message that pressures you to provide info or make payments immediately to avoid account closure or other threats.

Request for Sensitive Information

No genuine Bank of America employee will ever ask for your full account number, Social Security number, PINs, or full login credentials over the phone or email. Refuse to provide this info.

Demands for Payment

The bank will never call and demand immediate payment from you, especially requesting unusual forms like prepaid cards, gift cards, cryptocurrency, etc. This is always a giveaway of a scam.

Spoofed Caller ID

Even if the caller ID looks like it’s Bank of America’s real customer service number, scammers can fake official numbers. Verify the identity of any suspicious call before providing info.

Follow Your Gut

If a call just doesn’t feel right or the representative’s requests seem strange, end the call. You can always call back the official Bank of America number on your card or statement.

Who is Targeted by This Scam?

Bank of America has millions of account holders, so scammers cast a wide net with these impersonation scams. However, there are certain groups they tend to target more aggressively:

  • Senior citizens – Scammers assume seniors may be less tech-savvy and more trusting of banks. They are major targets.
  • Recent fraud victims – If you’ve had legitimate fraud on your Bank of America account already, scammers watch for that and assume you’ll be scared into complying again.
  • New Bank of America members – Scammers watch for new bank accounts being opened and try to take advantage before customers know the warning signs.
  • Lapsed customers – If you haven’t used your Bank of America account in awhile, scammers hope you’re less familiar with current practices and outreach.
  • Vulnerable households – Lower income families or non-native English speakers are more likely to be intimidated by the scam tactics.

No customer is completely safe from the threat of scams. But awareness of common tactics can help you avoid being targeted.

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How Scammers Obtain Your Information

For a scam to work, the perpetrators need to get your personal info to utilize. There are a few common methods they employ:

  • Phishing – Phishing scams use spoofed emails and websites to impersonate banks and trick users into entering account details and other private data.
  • Data breaches – When companies suffer data breaches, personal info gets sold on the dark web. Criminals purchase this data.
  • Social engineering – Scammers gather tidbits of intel from social media profiles and public records to sound more legitimate on calls.
  • Malware – Malicious software is used to infect devices and extract account numbers, passwords, and other data.
  • Eavesdropping – Unsafe public WiFi networks can be monitored to obtain usernames, passwords, account numbers, etc.

Once scammers have some piece of personal data, they leverage it to try gathering more from victims. Protect your info well to avoid fueling these scams.

Recent Examples of The Bank of America Customer Service Scam

This scam is unfortunately still very common today. Here are some real-life examples from 2022:

  • In January, customers reported calls claiming their accounts were frozen and social security numbers compromised. The scammer already had some account details and requested remote access to the victim’s computer to fix the issue.
  • Multiple victims reported calls in March stating there was suspicious activity on their account and the account would be shut down unless they transferred funds to a provided “safe account.”
  • Bank of America warned customers of an email phishing scam in June involving a fake BofA email address. The email referenced suspicious transfers and asked users to click a link to verify account information.
  • A text messaging scam in August said a large purchase triggered fraud alerts on accounts. Thetexts instructed users to call a number to unlock their account, but the number belonged to scammers.

These examples show how persistent and evolving this scam is. Always be alert to the latest tactics being used against Bank of America customers.

How to Protect Yourself from This Scam

While this scam can seem frightening and convincing, there are actions you can take to detect and avoid it:

  • Be skeptical of all unsolicited calls/messages – Never provide info or comply with instructions from an unexpected call or message claiming to be your bank. Verify it first.
  • Know Bank of America’s practices – Familiarize yourself with their legitimate customer service practices so you can spot unusual behavior.
  • Do not share sensitive info – Bank of America will not call and ask for your full account number, Social Security number, PINs or passwords. Refuse to provide these.
  • Request callbacks – If you receive a suspicious call, hang up and call Bank of America directly at the number on your statement or card. Ask the real bank to confirm if there is an issue.
  • Ignore demands for payment – The bank will never demand immediate payment from you over the phone, especially in unusual forms like prepaid cards or cryptocurrency.
  • Check for number spoofing – Scammers fake authentic phone numbers. Before calling back, check Bank of America’s website for the official contact information.
  • Update account security – Use strong unique passwords, enable two-factor authentication, check for suspicious activity often, and consider credit monitoring to make yourself less of a target.
  • Warn others – Share information about new scam tactics with family and friends to spread awareness and prevent victims.

Staying vigilant against this insidious scam is key. Information and preparation are your best defenses.

What to Do if You Are Targeted by This Scam

If you receive a suspicious call or message that appears to be Bank of America attempting to scam you, here is what you should do:

  • Don’t panic – Scammers want you to act out of fear. Stay calm so you can think rationally.
  • Do not provide information – No matter how convincing the call seems, refuse to give any personal or financial details.
  • End the call – Politely end the call with the scammer. Do not engage further or return additional calls.
  • Call Bank of America – Look up the real customer service number and call to make them aware someone is impersonating them and targeting you.
  • Request account alerts – Ask Bank of America to put additional alerts on your account in case the scam call was an attempt at gathering info to steal funds.
  • Change passwords – If you provided your username or online banking password to scammers, change it immediately to protect your account.
  • Review transactions – Log into your real Bank of America account and look for any signs of unauthorized transactions. Report any suspicious activity.
  • Contact authorities – File a report about the scam call/message with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov and notify local law enforcement.
  • Check credit reports – Keep an eye out for any fraudulent accounts or activity on your credit. Consider freezing your credit if identity theft is suspected.
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If you comply with demands for money or gift cards, act immediately to stop payments before the scammers can cash them. Call bank customer service for help recovering funds.

Reporting Bank of America Scams

If you are targeted by a scam impersonating Bank of America, be sure to report it:

  • Report to Bank of America – Notify Bank of America directly that scammers are impersonating them to defraud customers. Provide details that may help identify the perpetrators.
  • BBB Scam Tracker – File a scam report with the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker to warn others: www.bbb.org/scamtracker
  • FTC – Report scams to the Federal Trade Commission to aid law enforcement: ReportFraud.ftc.gov
  • Crime commissions – Local crime commissions often have cybercrime divisions you can report phone and online scams to.
  • FBI IC3 – Submit Internet crime complaints to the FBI at www.ic3.gov if funds were lost.
  • CISA – Report business email compromise scams to cybersafety authorities like CISA: www.cisa.gov/uscert
  • Telecommunications provider – Your cell phone or internet provider may be able to block fraudulent numbers that call/text scam messages. Report the numbers.

The more victims that report Bank of America scams, the better authorities can track the criminals and hold them accountable. Don’t let them get away with it!

How Bank of America is Fighting Back Against Scams

Bank of America certainly takes scams targeting their customers very seriously. They are employing a number of strategies to detect and combat the problem:

  • Caller authentication – Using secure call centers and caller authentication to verify representatives.
  • Fraud monitoring– Employing sophisticated systems to monitor accounts for signs of fraudulent activity.
  • Customer notifications – Proactively warning customers by email, phone, and online banking messages of new scam tactics being used.
  • Law enforcement collaboration– Working closely with authorities to report scam tactics and assist investigations against criminal groups.
  • Employee training – Conducting mandatory training to keep call center staff up-to-date on the latest scamming techniques against customers.
  • Public awareness – Offering online resources, scam definitions, and tips to help customers identify and report fraudulent activity safely.
  • Partnerships – Joining forces with telecom providers, tech companies, and others to share threat intelligence and improve scam prevention.
  • Secure authentication – Implementing biometric and multi-factor authentication security measures customers can use to verify the bank’s identity on calls.

While scammers come up with new schemes constantly, Bank of America stays ahead by diligently monitoring threat patterns and educating customers on protection.

Avoiding Other Common Bank Scams

The Bank of America customer service impersonation is far from the only scam targeting bank customers today. Some other popular bank-related scams to watch out for include:

Fake bank websites – Scam websites impersonate real bank sites to steal login credentials and account funds from unsuspecting visitors. Always double check the URL and confirm security certificates.

Check overpayment – Criminals pay with bad checks for more than the sale amount and ask for change. The bank later finds the check is fake, leaving the victim liable. Never accept overpayments.

ATM skimming – Skimming devices and pinhole cameras are installed on ATMs to steal debit card numbers and PINs from users. Check for tampering and cover the keypad when entering pins.

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Money mule scams – Victims are tricked into opening bank accounts or transferring money gained illegally under the guise of being a “money mule.” Avoid shady work-from-home offers.

Fake bank apps – Malicious apps impersonate real banking apps and are available in app stores to steal login credentials. Verify app publishers before downloading.

Vishing – Fraudsters call pretending to be your bank’s security department and trick you into providing account details or sending money. Hang up and call the bank directly.

There are many other ways scammers target bank customers. Always exercise caution sharing account information, scrutinize any requests for payments, and confirm communication is from your bank.

Protecting Your Loved Ones from Bank Scams

Senior citizens and other vulnerable loved ones are prime targets for banking scams whether by phone, email, or in person. Here are some tips to help protect them:

  • Review their bank statements regularly for any suspicious transactions and ask about any unknown activity. Scams often go unreported out of embarrassment or if seniors have memory issues.
  • Ensure 2 factor or multi-factor authentication is set up on their bank accounts for added security when logging in online or via phone.
  • Make sure computer virus and malware protection is up-to-date. Set it to scan for threats automatically if they lack the tech skills to manually scan.
  • Have them add your phone number, email or other contact method to their bank accounts so the bank can reach you if suspicious activity occurs.
  • Teach them the red flags of common bank scams so they can recognize the signs themselves without having to rely on memory. Quiz them on scam tactics periodically so it sticks.
  • If cognitive decline is an issue, consider consolidating accounts to a single, more secure bank you can monitor activity for rather than many vulnerable accounts.
  • Sign them up for credit monitoring services that send alerts for new accounts or credit inquiries so you can watch for signs of identity theft.

With vigilance and training on scam prevention, you can help keep your vulnerable family members from falling prey to the countless financial frauds targeting their generation.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Bank of America Customer Service Scam

Is it ever really Bank of America calling me?

Rarely, if ever. Bank of America has strict policies against proactively contacting customers about account issues. They only reach out via phone if you have scheduled an appointment to discuss your account. Any unexpected call is nearly guaranteed to be scammers impersonating Bank of America fraudulently.

What numbers do Bank of America scammers use?

They often spoof Bank of America’s real customer service numbers to appear authentic on caller ID. The same scammers also commonly impersonate the fraud department number 800-432-1000. Other reported scam numbers are 888-287-4637, 800-933-6262 and 877-247-2551.

What information do Bank of America scammers ask for?

Their ultimate goals are obtaining your account number, online banking passwords, Social Security number, debit card PIN and security codes. Start with limited info like name and account type but resist giving anything that could allow them access.

Can Bank of America employees really credit my account?

Real Bank of America reps will never ask to credit your account as an incentive to provide personal details. Any offer to deposit funds in exchange for info is always a scam tactic. Legitimate transaction disputes are handled by formal processes.

I already gave my information to the scammers! What now?

Immediately call Bank of America at the legitimate customer service number to report the scam and request they freeze your account and cards to prevent fraudulent access. Then reset all your account passwords and request fraud monitoring alerts. Check accounts daily for unauthorized activity.

Conclusion

Staying well-informed is key to avoiding the Bank of America customer service scam. Share this information with family and friends to stop these fraudsters in their tracks. Don’t become another victim!

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