Recently, there have been reports in Maine of a scam where unsuspecting victims are tricked into providing their online banking credentials over the phone to scammers.
They are told they have “qualified” for a refund, but an “error” occurs during the refund process and the victim is pressured into “returning” money that was never given to them in the first place.
The scheme appears plausible because the scammer is using the access he’s gained to the customer’s online banking account. The fraudster can inflate account balances (often via an account transfer from one of the victim’s other accounts), making it look like the refund has occurred. The victim falsely believes the money is in their account and that they must pay it back with gift cards.
If the victim hesitates, the scammer threatens police action for theft.
Here are some red flags to look out for:
- Fraudster offers a refund for “tech support”
- You are required to pay ANYTHING with gift cards, iTunes cards or Green Dot cards
- You’ve “qualified” for a refund
- You need your debit card limit raised to buy the gift cards
- You are asked to “verify” a deposit that was made with online banking
- People who have been victimized by another scam are more likely to be targeted by this one
If you are a victim, please report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ and let your bank know. If you are a Norway Savings Bank customer, call 888.725.2207