Beware of New Scam Targeting Banking Consumers
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul today issued a warning regarding a new scam that looks to use fake bank websites to target consumers' personal information. Scammers create the websites to make them look like a legitimate bank website to lure consumers into thinking they're entering their personal information to create a bank account. IDFPR has learned of at least two such fraudulent websites.
“No one in Illinois should think they're utilizing a tool to help their financial standing, only to find they've put their personal information, and their hard-earned money, at risk," said Chasse Rehwinkel, IDFPR Director of Banking. “As technology continues to evolve, so do the threats to financial well-being. We hope that consumers continue to remain diligent about such threats, and that banks assist us in helping keep them informed."
“No one is immune from online scams, so it is critical that people protect their personal and financial information from thieves," Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. “Take a little extra time to confirm that you are doing business with a legitimate company, especially when you are sharing sensitive information for something like establishing a bank account."
At this time, IDFPR recommends that consumers considering opening a bank account contact their bank directly to do so. Banks that learn of an imposter website are asked to notify IDFPR's Division of Banking by emailing IL.Banks@illinois.gov. They should also consider placing a notice on their website and in their branches to alert customers, and consider contacting the imposter website's domain name registrar to have it taken down. Banks that learn of an imposter website are also encouraged to consult with their legal and technology advisors to determine what other actions may be appropriate to take.
Attorney General Raoul encourages Illinois residents to protect their personal information online by taking the following steps:
- Use trusted sites rather than going through a search engine. Be sure you accurately enter website addresses, as scammers take advantage of misspellings of popular websites. Scammers register variations of legitimate website domains to lure consumers to bogus websites.
- Watch out for websites with misspellings, sloppy grammar and poor design quality, which could be indicators that a website is fraudulent.
- Read reviews of unfamiliar businesses to find out from other users if the website could be a scam. Perform an online search of a company's name along with the words “scam" or “review" when visiting new websites.
- Pay for online purchases with a credit card so that the transaction is protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Liability for fraudulent charges on credit cards is generally limited. Paying with a debit card or gift card may not offer such safeguards.
- Exercise caution when entering personal information or downloading new software. Scammers can steal your personal or financial information or install malware on your device that can result in identity theft.