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FBI warns of new banking scam

By David McMillin ·
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Posted: 1 pm ET

Some crafty criminals are aiming to steal one of the most valuable pieces of your personal property: your banking information.

In a new warning, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warns account holders of a new spam email scheme that involves a type of malware called "Gameover." The scheme involves fake emails from the National Automated Clearing House Association, the Federal Reserve or the FDIC. These messages attempt to trick recipients into clicking on a link to resolve some type of issue with their accounts or a recent ACH transaction. Once you click on the link, Gameover takes over your computer, and thieves can steal usernames, passwords and your money.

The FBI also warns the thieves' hacking capabilities can navigate around common user authentication methods banks use to verify your identity, which is certainly a cause for concern. Those additional authentication steps -- often personal questions, birth dates or other pieces of private information -- are meant to provide some extra security padding.

While phishing scams are nothing new to the world of online banking, this type of warning serves as a reminder of just how susceptible account holders can be to malicious attacks. As more account holders begin to jump on the mobile banking bandwagon, it's important to remember that a smartphone essentially acts as another computer. While this additional connection to the Internet is convenient, it also serves as another outlet where your information can be compromised.

Here are a few crucial steps to take to avoid falling victim to this type of Internet crime.

  • Keep your computer and mobile device updated with the newest versions of anti-virus software.
  • If you have any doubts about an email sender's authenticity, do not click on any embedded links.
  • Remember, banks never request any personal information via email.
  • Be vigilant about checking your account balances. The sooner you notice and report any type of fraudulent activity, the more likely you'll be able to be reimbursed for any missing funds.

Have you ever fallen victim to an online banking attack? If so, do you have any tips for other readers to avoid the trap?

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March 09, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Thomas, I am just surprised that anyone would open an account with BOA. Surely you don't really trust them enough to do business with them?

Jennifer leighton
March 09, 2012 at 8:34 pm

i am getting ones like that a lot. saying that i am under investigations on accounts. from fbis over seas. and all. that i need to contact them and send information. to get the money . and it is a lot of money. i try to not open it all. i get several of them a day.

March 09, 2012 at 8:01 pm

how would the hackers see my passwords, the only thing they will see is black dots

Sandra Wooldridge
March 09, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Banks are not holding your money. All they have is a paper check. They have to wait until the check clears, (usually through the Federal Reserve Bank or a local clearing house) to get your money. If you need your money right away you should go to the bank the check is written on and cash it.

M W Baumeister, Ed D
March 09, 2012 at 11:12 am

Is there a central reporting address for reporting phishing?

M W Baumeister, Ed D
March 09, 2012 at 11:08 am

When changing banks, first open a small account. Wait for that to be accepted and then begin transferring the remaining funds.

March 09, 2012 at 8:17 am

The fundimental issue is that your system can be taken over by clicking a link in an email.

...Ya think???

March 09, 2012 at 7:10 am

Why do banks give me only $100 of my check, which by the way is drawn off of Bank of America. Now I don't have an account with this bank, but my bank tells me that I have to wait for the funds to clear. What?! I was told that since I am a new customer that I have to wait up to 7 business days to get the balance of my money to go into my available balance, not a pending status. I feel like my money is being held hostage. I was told this was a policy. Also that the company I had worked for needed to be checked out to see if they had the money in, I guess, BoA's account. What?! Why does the liability rest on me? I was told that after 30 days of having my new account, that any checks deposited from that time forward, I would have the full balance of the check in available status. Why is this so? Is the bank possibly holding all these balances in some type of fund and making a profit off it? Isn't this just a merchant processing process. It should only take a few seconds to check balances. What if a bank opened up that offered as a marketing tool to gain new customer's that any new checks deposited will be available IMMEDIATELY. What is so hard about this? I mean, come on, how many tactical moves can you think of in a board room to not only get fees and frustrate a customer. Here's a scenario: what if I needed the money to buy some seizure medication and the bank was holding my money in a pending status and I didn't have the money to buy my medicine. Would this be a lawsuit against the bank? I mean really. Just give me my money.

LM MCDonald
March 09, 2012 at 7:09 am

In "pick on other companies" regarding bank charges versus phone charges, there is actually no comparison. Banks are holding
your money. TV and Cellphones are your choice and materialistic
purchases. It is most likely your account is much larger than
the amounts spent on the above purchases. Banks are earning money on these accounts and they should reward their members accordingly.

Pick on Other Companies
March 08, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I just wonder when Banks got a bad name for $5-7 a month. How about Cell phone companies $105-135 a month and everyone is fine with that. TV $60-100 a month! Wake up people.Frank Dodd has forced the banks to change. Cell phone companies never offered Free services like the banks used to!