Phishing attacks are large-scale scams organized by people who keep trying the scam over and over and over until someone takes the bait, just like a fisherman who keeps casting a hook until he catches a fish.
One new way used to gain access to a victim's financial information is by tricking people into revealing account information over the phone. Criminals are able to do this by electronically altering the caller ID information displayed on people's telephones. The call may have the name and number of a legitimate company shown, but the caller may be faking or "spoofing" the data.
The caller will tell people that someone is trying to steal their identity and that the victim needs to provide certain information contained on a bank account or credit card. This can be easier if the criminal already has certain information about a person or an account: the information offered by the caller may make them seem more legitimate and imply that providing additional personal data is not a risky decision. Once the caller has the right account and verification numbers, they can run up thousands of dollars in phony charges that can be very difficult to trace or have reimbursed.
To protect yourself, observe the following tips:
Never give financial information over the phone to anyone who calls you.
If the caller indicates there is a problem with an account you have, call the number that is printed on the back of the card or an account statement to discuss the issue.
Do not return a call to a number that has been provided by a person who has called you. That number is probably dialing an accomplice who will also attempt to steal personal information.
NOTE: HOPE does not contact members by phone to request account information for any reason.