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Protect Yourself from Phone Scams

 

Even in today’s online, high-tech world of digital communications, phone scams are alive and well, and out there to take advantage of innocent people. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reviewed about 1.25 million complaints in 2020 (nearly a third of the calls were about scammers), and reported that the median loss from successful phone scammers as $1,170 in 2020. Be aware and prepared to protect yourself and your sensitive information from these phone scammers.

Types of Phone Scams

Phone scams in all varieties, from winning a prize to law enforcement threats. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is not.

Bank Scammers

Typical bank scammers will call to notify you that your account has been “compromised” or been hit by fraud. They will try to ask for information to confirm your identity. NO BANK will ever call to ask for your personal information.

Debt or Credit Relief Scammers

These scammers will be offering to lower your interest rates on credit cards, loans, or student debt. They are focused on getting you to share your account information or personal identity information, and may want you to provide a payment upfront for their services. They will prey on people with poor or bad credit history by offering quick credit solutions.

Charity Scammers

In the current COVID-19 pandemic, scammers posing as charities are on the rise. These scammers are asking for donations to help with disaster relief, or other charitable causes. They are focused on extracting money from you, either one-time or getting access to your credit card information to run up charges.

Free Trial Scammers

These scammers promise a “free trial” but turn-around and start billing you monthly for products every month until you cancel.

How to Recognize a Phone Scam

There are many signals you can pick up to identify a phone scam. Here is a list to keep in mind whenever you receive a call from an unknown caller.

  • Threats: Caller is pretending to be a law enforcement officer or a federal agency, threatening to arrest, fine or deport you if you don’t pay something.
  • Prizes: Caller says you were selected for a special offer or won something, but you have to pay to get it.
  • Pressure: Any legitimate business offering you something will give you time to think it over and offer to send you more information in writing.
  • Fishing for Information: Callers may attempt to ask for personal or sensitive information, like your Social Security number or account information.

What to Do if You Receive a Suspicious Call

There are several things you should do if you get a suspicious call that sounds like a scammer.

  1. Hang up! Don’t spend time or follow any instructions provided by an automated caller.
  2. Consider call blocking or call labeling. This will filter out calls you don’t want and help easily identify trusted callers.
  3. Don’t trust your Caller ID. Scammers use a process called “spoofing” to make any name or number show up on your Caller ID.
  4. Report Phone Scams.
    1. Go to www.ftc.gov.complaint to report scams that you have lost money to or if you have information about the company or scammer who called you.
    2. Even if you have not lost money, use the online form at www.donotcall.gov to report a scam or suspicious caller.

What NOT To Do

  1. Do not answer calls from unknown numbers.
  2. Do not return one-ring calls from unknown numbers.
  3. Do not follow instructions on pre-recorded messages.
  4. Do not give personal or financial information to unknown/unverified callers.

How HOMEBANK Protects Our Customers

To protect our customers, we will never call you directly for personal or financial information. You should always ask a bank caller to provide you with their name, then call a number listed on the back of your credit or debit card, or from our website at www.myhomebank.bank.

Be prepared to answer some security questions when you call a confirmed bank number. We do this to provide you with extra security to protect your account information.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Banking Information

Follow these simple steps to protect your identity and financial information.

  • Use your mobile banking app.
  • Set alerts for unauthorized account activity.
  • Secure your phone and banking app with separate passwords.
  • Do not use public Wi-Fi to check your bank accounts.
  • Frequently change your passwords.