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Are You Sure That’s Your Bank Reaching Out?

Here at the Fraud Watch Network, we’re seeing a rise in scammers posing as banks or other financial institutions, with the hope of stealing sensitive information — including your account information or Social Security number. These ploys occur by phone, email and text.     

How It Works

  • By phone: A call from someone claiming to be with your bank or another financial institution warns of suspicious account activity. The person may even have some of your personal information, such as the last four digits of your Social Security number.
  • By email: You receive a message that looks legitimate — complete with the bank’s logo — directing you to click on a link in order to take care of an urgent matter.
  • By text: A message seemingly from your bank urges you to click on a link to address an issue.

What You Should Know

  • Between social media and data breaches, there’s enough information floating around to help a scammer craft a personalized message that seems entirely legitimate.
  • Scammers often use scare tactics to get us to react emotionally — such as claiming they have detected fraud on one of our accounts — making it difficult to access our logical thinking. processes.

What You Should Do

  • Greet any message from your bank with caution. Ask yourself, “Would my bank really text me?”
  • If you do get an email, a text or a phone call claiming to be from your bank, don’t interact. Look at an account statement or on the back of your credit or debit card for a number you can call to determine if the bank is really trying to reach you.
  • If you, like so many others, are now banking online, protect your accounts by using unique passwords; opting for your bank’s app, if available, for added security; and enabling two-factor authentication (the bank will send you a onetime code when logging in to ensure that it is actually you who’s accessing the account).

Knowledge gives you power over scams. The AARP Fraud Watch Network equips you with reliable, up-to-date insights and connects you to our free fraud helpline so you can better protect yourself and loved ones. We also advocate at the state, federal and local levels to enact policy changes that protect consumers and enforce laws.

P.S. Are you active on social media? Do you enjoy sharing information that can help friends and family to spot and avoid scams? Become a volunteer AARP Fraud Watch Network (FWN) Digital Fraud Fighter! Interested? Send us a note at for more information.

AARP’s Fraud Watch Network can help you spot and avoid scams. Sign up for free Watchdog Alerts, review our scam-tracking map, or call our toll-free fraud helpline at 877-908-3360 if you or a loved one suspect you’ve been a victim.