Warning: How criminals steal your banking info over the phone


Criminals are impersonating bank employees and getting customers to hand over their debit and credit card security codes, according to TV station KION.

Police in Carmel, California, are reportedly warning residents about this scam, but the message — and steps on how to stay safe — is relevant to everyone.

Report: New bank scam targets phone users with bank accounts

The scam works like this: A crook calls your phone pretending to be an employee from your bank.

What makes it more believable is that the phone number appears to be from your financial institution because of a technology called caller ID spoofing.

The thief typically tells you that your account has been compromised in some way, KION reports. To fix the issue, the crooks ask for the three-digit code on the back of your credit card.

Do don’t it: That three-digit code, known as a CVV (card verification value) or CVC (card verification code) is an anti-fraud measure.

Those numbers are part of the verification process that merchants need to go through to charge a transaction to your card.

In the event that you do happen to get a phone call from your bank, here are two things you should make sure of:

  • Make sure they address you by your full name. They may have the wrong person.
  • Make sure they identify themselves at the outset. You need to always know who you’re talking to.

Bank scam: What to do if you get a call

Don’t give out your personal info: The main thing you need to know about dealing with phone calls from a bank is to never divulge any information: Banks don’t ask for personal information over the phone.

Hang up the phone: If someone from a financial institution (or anyone really) asks for your personal information, hang up immediately.


File a complaint: Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Complaint Center at consumercomplaints.fcc.gov  or call them at call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Here are 3 things your bank will never do

If you receive calls from time to time from financial institutions, you should always feel confident in who you’re dealing with.

Here are some red flags that will let you know that you’re dealing with a scammer on the other line:

  • They ask for your full Social Security number, bank account or credit card number.
  • They ask you to send sensitive bank information via email
  • They ask you to go to a third-party site to enter your personal information

Here’s what money expert Clark Howard says about this scam: “Understand this: No one is ever going to call you from your bank or credit union in possession of your credit or debit card number and ask you for either your four-digit PIN or your three- or four-digit code from the card.”

Clark says here’s the #1 way to stay safe from this bank scam:

“You never, ever NOT EVER give someone pretending to be from a bank or credit union that information because that unlocks their ability to pretend to be you and have a field day buying as if they are you.”

Listen to Clark Howard talk about this phone scam

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