Resource Corner

Avoid Scams That Pose as a Financial Institution

Safeguard your financial well-being as we dive into the latest tactics of fraudsters.

magnifying glass over the word fraud

Scams impersonating financial institutions have become increasingly prevalent in our digital age. Falling for one can cost you money and peace of mind. Stay informed and safeguard your financial well-being as we dive into the latest tactics of fraudsters masquerading as legitimate financial institutions.

Recognizing Common Red Flags

A text asking you for details to “confirm” it’s you. Your financial institution may text you from time to time – for instance, to confirm a transaction on PC – but financial institution texts will never ask you to confirm details or for passwords. Financial institutions also won’t update their apps in this way. If you’re suspicious, don’t click on the link, and don’t call any numbers within the text. Instead, contact your financial institution on its “normal” number – Google it if you don’t know – and check whether the text is from them. 

Fake fraud alert scam. The scheme tries to scare you into believing the scammers are representatives of your financial institution. The scammers will tell you a fraudulent charge was made to your bank account through a digital instant payment app. 

Give you a deadline of 24 hours before your financial institution account erases itself. Many legitimate messages from your financial institution will be marked “urgent” – particularly those related to suspected fraud – but any message with a deadline should be treated with extreme suspicion. Cybercriminals must work fast – their websites may be flagged, blocked, or closed down rapidly – and need you to click without thinking. Financial institutions want you to get in touch – they won’t usually set a deadline.

Send you a link with a “new version” of your banking app. Your financial institution will not distribute apps this way – instead, download from official app stores, and ensure yours is up to date. 

Use shortened URLs in an email. Cybercriminals use a variety of tricks to make a malicious web page appear more “real” in an email that’s supposedly from your financial institution – one of the most basic is URL-shortening services. Be very cognizant when clicking on links in an email. You can hover over the shortened URL to look for red flags. If you have any suspicion that the email may be fraudulent, it's best to visit the financial institution’s website (the usual URL you use), or call them on an official number (i.e., not the one in the email).

Email you at a new address without warning. Financial institutions will only add new email addresses with your permission. If you want to be extra careful, create a unique email address for your financial institution. Don’t publish it anywhere or use it for anything else – that way, emails that appear to be from your financial institution probably ARE from your financial institution. As always, stay cautious.

Send a personal message with a blank address field. If you receive a personal message from your financial institution, it should be addressed to you – not just in the message but in the email header. Check that it’s addressed to your email address – if it’s blank or addressed to “Customer List” or similar, be suspicious.

Protection Against Scams

Always confirm the identity of anyone claiming to represent your bank. It's prudent to refrain from sharing sensitive details over email or phone, particularly if you did not initiate the contact. When contacting your financial institution, use the contact details you have on record or those from official sources rather than information provided in unsolicited communications. Furthermore, arm yourself with knowledge. 

To learn more tips on how to protect yourself against common scams, read the full article here.


All content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and tax or accounting advisors before making any financial decisions.