DALLAS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Security experts are urging northeastern and central Pennsylvanians to fight back against scammers. The call to action comes after phishing scams in 2021 cost Americans nearly $6 billion.
Those scams are getting more and more sophisticated, too. It’s why a campaign is underway to help prevent you from making a very costly mistake.
Betsy Balara has a phone problem, but not the kind you might think.
“It’s ringing all the time and none of them are legitimate calls. Most of them are spam,” Balara told Eyewitness News.
Those bogus phone calls are intended to trick you into thinking trusted sources are calling you. Sometimes the fraud is in the form of texts, emails, and mailed letters, too.
“One time we got a spam letter and it said that we owed somebody $17,000 and to get in touch with them right now and like it really scared me,” Balara said.
A classic tactic from the fraudster’s playbook.
“You know, that’s what they do. They try and create that sense of urgency,” said Paul Benda.
Paul Benda is the American Bankers Association’s Senior Vice President of Operational Risk and Cybersecurity. He says not only is fraud as prevalent as ever, but also it’s become more sophisticated.
“What they’re trying to do is to get you to click on a link or get you to provide your username and password so they can hack your account,” Benda explained.
It’s why American Bankers Association is launching a campaign called “Banks Never Ask That.”
The campaign stresses that banks will never ask for your PIN, password, or social security number in an email.
Other tell-tale signs of email fraud? Bad spelling, grammar, or a blurred logo.
A bank will also never threaten to close your account or use pushy tactics. A bank will never text you asking you to call a number that’s not their official 800 number. A bank also won’t ask you to click a suspicious link.