Should you receive suspicious text messages, calls and emails, do not open any links, answer or return any of these calls, and/or provide personal information. Always be suspicious if you’re asked for your personal information.
Bitdefender, a cybersecurity software leader, recently published a report that says the stay-at-home model of working, online shopping, and online banking are perfect hunting grounds for criminals. Recently, they have started spoofing financial institutions more, hoping to defraud customers.
Spoofing refers to a range of fraudulent practices where scam artists use email addresses, URLs or phone numbers that mimic the email addresses, URLs, or phone numbers of a trusted person or business, such as a financial institution. All of these practices are ultimately designed to get money out of the victim’s financial accounts and into the scammer’s pocket.
In eMail Spoofing, a scammer sends out an email where the address appears to come from a trusted entity. For example, you may receive an email that appears to be from a bank you use. Generally, the email has a small difference. For example, your bank may use @abcbank.com, but the spoof email may come from @abcbank1.com. To make the email look even more legitimate, it may contain a fake original message or a series of messages that makes the recipient believe they are in an ongoing conversation from the sender. Then, the email may instruct the recipient to provide personal information such as your online banking username and password.
In URL Spoofing, a spoof email or text message directs the recipient to a spoof URL. For example, a fraudster sends out a spoof email to some of our customers, including you. You open the email and believe it is from us. The email directs you to a fake URL which mimics our actual website. Once there, you enter your username and password, thinking you are on our actual site. In the meantime, the scammers steal your username and password, and they use those details to drain your account.
In Caller ID Spoofing, technology now enables crooks to fake the number they’re calling from by making a false number appear on your caller ID. It’s effective because the number displayed appears to be your bank’s correct contact number. Criminals clone the actual telephone number of an organization they want to impersonate. Using specialized technology, the number appears on the victim's caller ID display. Then, when you answer the call, they often pose as bank staff, police or other trusted organizations in order to persuade you to disclose sensitive financial and personal details – often on the pretense that fraud has been detected on your account.
Criminals have spoofed or mimicked Bank of America, Wells Fargo, HSBC, PayPal, Western Union and, most recently, Finance Factors.
Unfortunately, phone service providers we’ve contacted are not equipped to help track the spoofing originators or put an end to these scams. Should you receive suspicious text messages, calls and emails, do not open any links, answer or return any of these calls, and/or provide personal information. Always be suspicious if you’re asked for your personal information. Same goes for transferring or withdrawing money. Remember, your financial institution will never ask you to do any of these things.
What You Should Do
If you do not remember signing up for text message or email alerts with any organization, do not respond to any you receive on its behalf.
If you ever receive a call from Finance Factors (or any organization) and are unsure if the call is legitimate, hang up and call the company back directly.
If you receive a suspicious text message, email, or phone call from Finance Factors, please contact us at 522-2000 on Oahu or toll-free at 1-800-648-7136, Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm HST to report this suspicious activity.
Review your financial statements regularly and notify us immediately of any suspicious or fraudulent activity.
For more information on spoofing, check out these related links:
Federal Communications Commission - https://www.fcc.gov/spoofing
Federal Trade Commission - https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/caller-id-spoofing-infographic
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