A local North Alabama business reported receiving a phishing email claiming to be from their bank, Wells Fargo. The email is from firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject line that reads “Please Read! Important Alert.” The email is not addressed to anyone specific and instead leads by saying “A new level of online protection, your account was suspended because we were unable to verify your information, submit your verification process.” The email displays the following lists of reasons the account could have been suspended in a gray box: “online ID and password, email address, or phone number”. The reader is then prompted to click a link to verify their account.
When the local business received this email, they logged into their Wells Fargo account online and noticed that it was active. Suspicious, the business contacted their account representative to confirm the legitimacy of the email. As suspected, the email was not from Wells Fargo. The account representative informed the business that had they clicked on the gray box or link, it would’ve asked for the owner’s social security number. Once the number was entered, the scammers would have access to all the owner’s personal information.
If you receive an email or text like this one, delete it. It’s a scam. If you are concerned about your account, call the bank using a number from a trusted resource to verify the status of your account.
Tips to Spot a Phishing Scam:
- Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments. Do not click on links or open files in unfamiliar emails.
- Consider how the company normally contacts you. If a company usually contacts you by phone, be suspicious if you suddenly start receiving emails or text messages without ever opting in to the new communications. Banks and credit card issuers have secure communications channels that require you to log into your account before you can read the message.
- Don’t believe what you see. Just because an email looks real, doesn’t mean it is. Scammers can fake anything from a company logo to the “Sent” email address.
- Check the company’s website or call them. If something sounds suspicious, confirm it by checking with the bank or credit card issuer. The customer service phone number will be on the back of the card. If you want to look on the company’s website, look for the URL on your statement or do a web search. DON’T click on any links in the message you suspect is a scam.
- Be cautious of generic emails. Scammers try to cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake emails. Always be wary of messages that don’t contain your name, last digits of your account number or other personalizing information.
If you are ever unsure of an email from a bank asking for personal information, contact the bank directly using a phone number printed on statements.
Source: BBB of North Alabama