So I wanted to write about a scam I *almost* fell for recently. I haven’t seen anything else out there about it. I don’t consider myself gullible and these people were prepared for savvy folks.
The other day, I received a text message purporting to be from Bank of America, warning me that someone tried to send $3.5k to someone using Zelle. I was asked to respond YES if valid and NO if not. I of course have not authorized such, so I said NO.
I then received a call that appeared to be from Bank of America (it was the same number as on the website and the back of my debit card). They gave me their name and employee ID, and MOST IMPORTANTLY- THEY NEVER ASKED ME TO SHARE ANY PERSONAL INFO.
However, the $3.5k transaction didn’t show up in the records on my side. It was the steps they asked me to go through that made me suspicious. They wanted me to send money to myself to “refund” the money that was supposedly “stolen”.
They first told me that since Zelle is third-party, they couldn’t stop the transaction directly. They then asked me to send myself two $$ transfers to get my refund- one for $2.5k and one for $1k. They also had me give them a code that came from an email- supposedly from Chase bank as they were the bank the “stolen” funds were sent to. I didn’t give the correct code just in case, but after looking at the email details (sender etc) I don’t think it came from Chase at all.
I was suspicious at this point and made a comment about how it won’t let me do that because I didn’t even have that much in that account. They then said that they’d do a refund for the $2.5k from their end, but I still needed to do the $1k transfer to get all my money back. I said that didn’t make sense- if they could refund part from their end they should be able to do all. He couldn’t give a logical answer.
At that point I hung up and called Bank of America directly. The lady said that BOA texts only come from short-text-codes and they don’t call after that. If I say no, a transaction is simply denied and there’s no reason to call me. (?? I’m not sure about that). She confirmed that his ID number was false and so was the procedure he tried to get me to complete.
I’m not sure how the scam would have worked exactly if I had sent those transfers. I assume they were trying to set up another Zelle account with my email address, that would have collected the money I would have thought I was sending to myself? I’m not sure. On my bank I used my phone number for zelle, not my email, but they clearly have both.
But they were good. They didn’t ask for personal info, they spoofed the bank number and made up employee numbers. They were careful to be ready for savvy people who ask questions.
They didn’t expect me to hang up and actually call the bank, since it looked like they were calling from the bank. While I was talking to the bank lady, they were trying to call me back. They tried a few times the next day too.
Be careful out there y’all. If anyone calls “from your bank”, hang up and call the bank directly right away.