KILLEEN, TX — All types of scams have been on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Better Business Bureau. Hackers are getting more clever these days and are taking advantage people right here in our community.
Gina Reid previously worked in the dispute department at a bank, so she knows all about scams and horror stories of dispute claims she's dealt with. But just a few days ago, she fell for a phone scam that cost her hundreds out of her savings.
“They got me. Out of all people, they got me. Yeah, it was crazy. If they can get me, I know they can get anybody because it was just so legit. It sounded so legit! I had... there were no red flags. I had no idea. They were just so good,” Reid said.
She looks back and laughs at the situation now, but Reid still can't believe she fell prey to this banking scam.
The scammer spoofed the bank's number, took down all of her information, including code words and security codes sent to her phone, relayed it to her bank, and cashed out through Western Union, all while still on the phone with Reid, pretending to be a representative from her bank's fraud department.
“I had my bank's number saved in my phone, so it came up as their number. I had to get all new accounts, and it’s just been a hassle. It was... I just felt so bamboozled and violated," Reid said.
“It’s scary because you basically have to shut everything down and freeze every account that you have,” said Amy Razor, Fort Worth Better Business Bureau Regional Director.
Razor says they have received other reports of this scam in the area. A government website that tracks scams states over $22 million in December 2020 alone was lost or compromised due scams.
Having had her own banking information compromised, Razor says the best thing to do is keep constant eye out on your accounts.
“Your immediate instinct is going to be, you know, your panic. You’re taken off-guard and you want to address the situation immediately. So, that could just be a tactic of the scammer to say, "I’m just with the fraud department," so you will start sharing projected information. Do those regular checkups, check your accounts, check your credit scores to see if there are any charges, unrecognized activity going on in any of those accounts,” she said.
If you do receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from your bank, hang up the phone and call your bank directly. It’s advice Reid says she will take to heart.
“In the future that’s what I’m going to do. I’m never taking incoming phone calls again,” she said.
For more tips on dealing with phone scams, click here.