Bank Account Takeover is on the Rise: What is it and How to Prevent it from Happening to You

Bank Account Takeover is on the Rise: What is it and How to Prevent it from Happening to You
Topics Fraud PreventionIdentity TheftOnline Security

Fraudsters never sleep. Among one of their many tactics: bank account takeover fraud.

How it Works

Scammers will text a large number of consumers impersonating various banks and financial institutions to ask if you initiated a transfer or ask if you were making a purchase. It is a trick. Don’t respond.

If you respond “NO,” the scammer will immediately call you and tell you they’re from your bank and may ask for your username, password, contact information and more. Never give out this information. They will also tell you they sent a code to your mobile phone for you to provide back to them to verify your identity. DO NOT provide this code.

Once the scammer has the code, they will have access to your account and begin transferring funds out of your accounts. Scammers will also encourage you to not access your account temporarily “while they resolve the issues” to leave additional time before you notice you’ve been scammed.

Be especially alert on weekends and over the holidays. Why? Scammers are hoping you are busy or distracted and won’t notice their account takeover attempt until it’s too late.

Ways to Protect Yourself

Ensure you know how and where your bank will communicate with you. Never click any unsolicited links or provide sensitive personal information like your username, password, Social Security number or account access codes to anyone – even if they’re claiming to be from your bank.

When in doubt, delete the message or hang up the phone and contact your bank directly using the number listed on their official website or your credit and debit cards. Scammers are known to spoof legitimate phone numbers for businesses when contacting victims, so you can never be too safe.

Don’t panic. Scammers try to create a sense of urgency to get you to act fast so you don’t notice the red flags. If they are trying to rush you into providing urgent information, hang up and contact your bank directly instead.

If You’ve Been a Victim

Contact your bank immediately to freeze your accounts, get new account numbers, debit and credit cards. It is also important monitor your accounts closely to identify suspicious transactions and report them, as well place a fraud alert on your credit report with EquifaxExperian and TransUnion.

Change your online usernames and passwords, including for your bank accounts. Your passwords for any accounts should be updated regularly for enhanced security.

File a report with the police, the Federal Trade Commission ( and Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (

To learn more, click here.

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