The 7 Latest Bank of America Scams and How To Identify Them

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Todd Jones

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    Are You Dealing With a Bank of America Scam?

    Gabrielle Chavez had been saving up to pay for her mother’s headstone when she received a text message from Bank of America asking if she’d sent $3,500 to someone through Zelle [*].

    Afraid that her account had been hacked, the 24-year-old quickly responded. But seconds after hitting “send,” Gabrielle’s phone rang. On the other end, a man who introduced himself as a banking fraud specialist explained that in order to protect her savings, she’d have to transfer it to a new “secure” Zelle account. 

    Gabrielle complied — not realizing that she had just sent her life’s savings to a scammer. 

    Unfortunately, Gabrielle’s story isn’t unique. Americans lost $2.3 billion to imposter scams in 2021 alone — with scammers regularly posing as bank employees to gain their victims’ trust [*]. 

    If you’re a Bank of America (BoA) customer, you need to be aware of the latest scams targeting your accounts and finances. In this guide, we’ll explain how Bank of America scams commonly work, the latest schemes to watch out for, and what to do if you’re a victim.

    What Are Bank of America Scams? How Do They Work?

    Bank of America scams occur when fraudsters attempt to gain access to your bank accounts, finances, or personal information by posing as bank employees or other officials. 

    Scammers know that the banking system is built on trust. You trust the bank to protect your savings — and when fraudsters pose as bank employees, you’re more likely to extend that same level of trust to them. As a scam tactic, it’s deceptively simple and effective. 

    Yet, while the approach is simple, the scams themselves are often sophisticated and hard to identify. The latest Bank of America scams include:

    • Impersonation scams. Fraudsters pose as Bank of America employees, law enforcement, or other officials over the phone and pressure you into sending them money or giving up account details. 
    • Account verification scams. Scammers create a sense of urgency by sending fake fraud alerts or other messages claiming there’s an issue with your account. But any information you share to “verify” your identity goes straight to them. 
    • Smishing texts. Bank of America will text customers about account updates or transactions. Scammers mimic these texts to try and get you to call them or give up your account details. 
    • Fraudulent emails. Con artists also use phishing emails to try and gain access to your accounts or get you to visit a fake Bank of America website. These suspicious emails can look surprisingly legitimate. 
    • Fake websites. Spoofed login websites are a common factor in Bank of America scams. Fraudsters create websites that look exactly like the official Bank of America login page in order to capture your password and credentials. 
    Take action: If you accidentally give scammers your personal information, they could empty your bank accounts or take out loans in your name. Try Aura’s top-rated identity theft protection free for 14 days to secure your financial accounts and identity from scammers.

    Example: A Bank of America Scam Email That Almost Worked

    Here’s an example of a real-life Bank of America scam email:

    An example of a fake Bank of America scam email
    An example of a fake Bank of America scam email. Source: Aura team

    At first glance, you might not assume that this is a fake email. The “from” name says “Bank of America,” it uses the bank’s official logo, and the email describes what sounds like a plausible situation. 

    However, if you dig deeper, there are clear red flags indicating that you’re dealing with a scam:

    • It doesn’t come from an official “BankofAmerica.com” email address. Instead, the scammers have changed the sender’s name to say “Bank of America” in an effort to fool victims. 
    • The logo is not a crisp, high-quality image. Fraudsters don’t have access to the bank’s official design assets and need to steal lower-quality versions that they find online.
    • The email is addressed to “Valued Customer.” Bank of America will include personal details, such as your name or account number in these types of emails.
    • It asks you to download an attachment with no instructions on what to do afterwards. Hackers hide malware and other viruses in attachments. 
    • It creates a sense of urgency by threatening to suspend your account. This is a classic scam tactic to make you act without thinking.
    • There are no additional contact methods included. If Bank of America believed fraud was occurring on your account, it would assign a fraud specialist to investigate.
    • A close read shows subtle spelling and grammar mistakes (such as how the bank apologizes for “inconveniences”). Some words are also inappropriately capitalized.

    While some of these elements are clear warning signs, not all Bank of America scams are as easy to recognize. 

    The 7 Latest Bank of America Scams You Should Know About

    1. Fake fraud alerts asking you to “verify” your identity
    2. Phone calls claiming that your account is compromised
    3. Emails demanding you verify your account or risk losing access
    4. Text messages claiming your BoA account is suspended or locked
    5. Zelle, Venmo, and other payment app scams
    6. Claims that scammers opened a Bank of America account in your name 
    7. Fake “check verification” text messages

    Scammers are always testing new ways to get you to give them personal information or access to your bank account. Here are descriptions of the latest Bank of America scams to watch out for:

    1. Fake fraud alerts asking you to “verify” your identity

    Bank scams are most often centered around threats — like claiming that your account was hacked (or is going to be suspended). In this common Bank of America scam, fraudsters send text messages asking you to “verify” your identity in order to regain access to your account. 

    Example of a Bank of America scam text
    Example of a Bank of America scam text. Source: Reddit

    There are multiple text messages associated with this scam. Two of the most common examples are:

    • “Due to irregular activities your Bank of America debit card has been disabled. Please log in and review recent transactions at {URL}. Failure to verify recent activities may result in account closure. Reply stop to opt-out of all bofa alerts.”
    • “Alerts: Due to new online updates your online banking has been temporarily blocked to stop fraudulent use. Please visit at {URL} to opt out of message alerts. Reply stop. Messages & data rates may apply.”

    Whatever angle the scammers take, their goal is to get you to visit a fake website that will steal your personal information — such as your bank account credentials or Social Security number (SSN). 

    Don’t get scammed! Do this:
    • Don’t trust links in SMS messages. Only log in to your Bank of America account through the mobile app or the official BankofAmerica.com website. If the alert message was legitimate, you’ll see the same information noted in your account. 
    • Forward scam text messages to Bank of America’s fraud department. You can email a screenshot of the text to abuse@bankofamerica.com or forward the text directly to 7726 (which spells SPAM).

    💡 Related: Scammed on Zelle? Here's How To Get Your Money Back

    2. Phone calls claiming that your account is compromised

    For Bank of America customers, one trending phone scam involves warning customers that their account has been compromised — and then pressuring them to transfer their savings into a “secure” account (that the scammers control). 

    Fraudsters use technology to spoof their phone number and make it look like they’re calling from Bank of America on your caller ID. They might even find personal information about you online to make them seem more legitimate — such as your checking account number or family members’ names.

    Don’t get scammed! Do this:
    • Hang up if someone asks for personal or account information. Bank of America employees will never call you asking for your card PIN, account password, or sensitive information like your credit card numbers and SSN.
    • Never transfer money to another account based on a phone call (even an account that you supposedly control). The bank will not ask you to transfer money if it detects fraud or abuse. Remember, using services like Zelle or Venmo is essentially the same as sending cash. Once the money is gone, it’s nearly impossible to get it back. 

    💡Related: Scammed on Cash App? Here’s How To Get Your Money Back

    3. Emails demanding you verify your account or risk losing access

    Scam artists often create emails that suggest bank customers will lose access to their accounts unless they”verify” their identity by downloading and filling out a form. But engaging with these emails can have dangerous consequences, including: 

    • The attachment infects your device with malware. Hackers hide malware in legitimate-looking attachments. If you download them, they’ll infect your computer with ransomware or spyware that gives scammers access to all of your files. 
    • You accidentally give scammers access to your Bank of America account. Fraudsters ask for your credentials in fake “verification” forms — such as your account password, card PIN, or more.  
    • You provide enough information that your identity can be stolen. Even if fraudsters aren’t able to access your bank account, you may accidentally provide enough information for them to steal your identity.  

    Always remember: Banks will not ask you to “verify” sensitive or personal information. 

    Don’t get scammed! Do this:
    • Don’t click on any links in emails. If Bank of America needs you to update your personal information, it will ask you to do so through their official website or app, or in person. The bank will not close, suspend, or deactivate your account in the meantime, even if your account information isn’t up-to-date.
    • Use antivirus software to protect your computer and other devices. Aura’s powerful antivirus software scans your devices for viruses and isolates them before they can do too much damage. Learn more about how Aura can keep you safe from bank scammers.

    💡 Related: Have I Been Hacked? Warning Signs and What To Do

    4. Text messages claiming your BoA account is suspended or locked

    Scammers know that most people are terrified of losing access to their bank accounts. In this scam, they send fake text messages claiming that your account has been suspended or locked. The only way to “unlock” your account is to click on a suspicious link. 

    Example of a Bank of America scam text message
    Scammers want you to click on malicious links to “unlock” your account. Source: Reddit

    These text messages usually use the threat of fraudulent activity or a cybersecurity concern to get you to act without thinking. But even clicking on the link could put your device and bank account at risk. 

    Don’t get scammed! Do this:
    • Never tap on embedded links in SMS messages. Links in text messages — especially shortened or scrambled ones — are a classic scam tactic. Don’t click on them. 
    • Verify any suspicious text messages through official channels. Don’t blindly trust a text, email, or popup. If there was an issue with your Bank of America account, you’ll see it when you log in to their official mobile banking app or website. 

    Pro tip: Forward all fraudulent texts and emails to Bank of America’s fraud and abuse team at  abuse@bofa.com

    5. Zelle, Venmo, and other payment app scams

    Fraudsters have turned their focus toward payment apps like Zelle, Venmo, and Cash App because they’re easy to use — and treat transfers like cash. Once you send someone money via these services, it’s essentially gone. 

    In payment app scams, fraudsters contact you via phone calls, emails, or texts and explain that your account has been compromised. Then, they say the only way to “protect” your money is to transfer it to a secure account using a payment app. In reality, they control the account to which you’re transferring the money. 

    But isn’t Zelle owned by the bank? Zelle was created by seven of the largest banks in the United States — including Bank of America. However, that doesn’t mean it’s any more secure or safer than other payment apps. Zelle transfers are still treated like cash. 

    Don’t get scammed! Do this:
    • Treat payment apps like cash. Don’t believe anyone who says you’ll get your money back after sending it. If you don’t know for sure to whom you’re sending money, don’t send it.
    • Ignore messages or calls about payment apps that you don’t use. If you don’t have a Zelle account, you can safely ignore any request to confirm payment through Zelle. Always check your Bank of America account before responding to any warning or alert. Bank of America will never ask you to send money to anyone, including yourself.

    💡 Related: Zelle Scams: 8 Ways You Can Get Scammed on Zelle

    6. Claims that scammers opened a Bank of America account in your name 

    If you receive an unexpected email (or physical mail) about a new Bank of America account that you didn’t open, there’s a good chance that you’re the victim of identity theft

    Scammers use stolen information — such as your SSN, address, and email — to open new accounts. Then, they can take out credit or use the account for money laundering. Unfortunately, your personal information is probably already available to them on the Dark Web.

    Don’t get scammed! Do this:
    • Use a free Dark Web scanner. Aura scans Dark Web forums, sites, and marketplaces to see if your personal information and passwords have been leaked. Try it for free and see if you’re at risk
    • Report fraudulent accounts to Bank of America’s security team. Don’t ignore junk mail or unexpected offers in the mail, either. These are early warning signs that someone has used your identity to open a new bank account. 
    Take action: If scammers have your personal information, they could hack into your online accounts, empty your bank accounts, or worse. Try Aura’s top-rated identity theft protection service free for 14 days and secure your identity, finances, and devices from scammers.

    7. Fake “check verification” text messages

    Check scams have become increasingly common in the past year. In this scam, fraudsters send a fake text message asking you to “verify” a check that came from your account. If you respond “no,” you’ll be asked to call a phone number — taking you straight to scammers.

    Fraudsters often include the first or last four digits of your bank account number to make you think that the message is legitimate. But these numbers can either be found on the Dark Web or are easily guessed. For example, all Wells Fargo accounts start with “4342.”

    Don’t get scammed! Do this:
    • Ignore the message. Checks do not need additional verification to be cashed. Bank of America does not verify outgoing checks by text message. Forward the text to abuse@bofa.com and let the bank handle it. 
    • Set up two-factor authentication (2FA) on your account. Fake “check verification” text message scams indicate that criminals already have your phone number and some additional information about you. You should enable 2FA to secure your Bank of America account, as well as update your passwords.

    💡 Related: What Happens If You Unknowingly Deposit a Fake Check?

    Did You Send a Scammer Money or Give Them Your Bank Details? Do This!

    If you accidentally send money or personal data to a scammer, you must act quickly to protect your finances and identity). 

    Not only do you want to stop scammers from stealing more, but you’ll also want to secure your accounts and identity against future fraud. Unfortunately, nearly one-third of all identity theft victims are repeat victims [*]. 

    Here’s what to do:

    • Call Bank of America’s fraud department. Bank of America’s fraud hotline phone number is 800-432-1000. The bank will launch an investigation and try to return your losses. It may not succeed, but you can work with the bank to protect yourself from additional fraud.
    • Recover your online banking account. If your bank account login credentials have been compromised, you’ll need to recover them immediately. Follow the instructions in Bank of America’s guided demo on how to recover your ID or password.
    • Check your credit report for suspicious activity. Identity thieves may use your information to open accounts at other banks. Your credit report may be the first warning sign that this is happening. You can get free weekly credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com until the end of 2023.
    • Tell the credit bureaus to freeze your credit. To open lines of credit in your name, financial institutions and lenders check your credit with one of the major credit bureaus. You should tell all three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) to freeze credit requests. Here’s how to request a credit freeze.
    • File an official identity theft report with the FTC. If identity thieves manage to open accounts in your name, you will need to close them and dispute the charges. Lodging an official complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is critical to this process. Go to IdentityTheft.gov to file an official report. 
    • Consider signing up for identity theft protection. Aura’s #1-rated identity theft protection service monitors your most sensitive information and financial accounts for signs of fraud. You’ll be alerted in near real-time if anyone is trying to steal your identity or take out credit in your name. All Aura plans also include powerful digital security tools to keep your devices safe from hackers, as well as $1,000,000 in insurance for eligible losses due to identity theft. 
    Take action: Don’t face fraud and identity theft alone. Try Aura free for 14 days and safeguard your identity and finances against scammers.

    How To Protect Your Bank Account From Scammers

    Practicing good security hygiene will make it harder for criminals to gain access to your money and financial information:

    1. Update your online bank account passcode. Your account password should be at least 10 characters long and include a combination of letters (both upper- and lower-case), numbers, and symbols. Avoid using passwords that you’ve already used in the past, as they may have been breached on other platforms. Criminals often try using old passwords to break into their victims’ accounts.
    2. Enable 2FA with an authenticator app. This additional security measure requires a secondary code for you to access your bank account. However, don’t have your 2FA code sent to your mobile device, as text or SMS codes can be intercepted by hackers. Instead, use an authenticator app like Authy or Google Authenticator with biometric security (fingerprints, facial scans, etc.).
    3. Never click on links in texts or emails. Suspicious links are everywhere. If a message requests that you sign in to your Bank of America account, use the mobile app or go directly to BankofAmerica.com. 
    4. Always check your online account first. Don’t believe texts, calls, or emails about your Bank of America account. Verify the information by checking your account (in the app or on the bank’s official website). If the alert is genuine, you will see it reflected on your account homepage. If there is nothing there, the message was a scam.
    5. Follow proactive cyber hygiene practices. This includes recognizing the signs of a phishing attack, using a password manager to securely store your credentials, and protecting your devices with antivirus software, a virtual private network (VPN), and Safe Browsing tools. 

    💡 Related: Help! Someone Forged My Signature on a Check and Cashed It

    The Bottom Line: Don’t Get Burned by a Bank of America Scam

    Gabrielle Chavez didn’t immediately trust the person who scammed her. She thought she was being diligent by asking questions. But diligence isn’t always enough to protect your personal data or prevent fraudsters from accessing your bank account.

    Enjoy peace of mind with Aura’s all-in-one digital security solution. Aura monitors your bank accounts, credit file, personal information, and more — and alerts you in near real-time about signs of fraud. With Aura, there’s always someone watching out for you. 

    Keep scammers out of your bank account. Try Aura free for 14 days

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    1. Financial identity theft and fraud
    2. Medical identity theft
    3. Child identity theft
    4. Elder fraud and estate identity theft
    5. “Friendly” or familial identity theft
    6. Employment identity theft
    7. Criminal identity theft
    8. Tax identity theft
    9. Unemployment and government benefits identity theft
    10. Synthetic identity theft
    11. Identity cloning
    12. Account takeovers (social media, email, etc.)
    13. Social Security number identity theft
    14. Biometric ID theft
    15. Crypto account takeovers