Andy Cohen fell victim to an imposter scam. Don’t let this happen to you.
Bravo Television personality Andy Cohen recently appeared on the Today Show, revealing that he had fallen victim to an imposter scam. He’d lost his debit card and, the next day, received an email that appeared to be from his bank’s fraud alert department. It wasn’t.
Scams come through many different channels — including text, voice calls, and emails. In an imposter scam, the victim receives a fake fraud prevention alert via text, pretending to originate from a bank or credit union. It often includes information about a suspected fraudulent purchase from a major retailer. It might provide a fake number to call or link to click in the initial message, or you might be asked to reply “yes” or “no” to verify that you made the listed transaction.
If you reply, the scammer will call you pretending to be from your financial institution’s fraud department — they can even spoof the phone number, so it appears it’s coming from your trusted institution. IF YOU ARE CONTACTED, DO NOT REPLY. JUST HANG UP OR IGNORE IT AND CALL YOUR INSTITUTION’S LEGITIMATE, PUBLISHED NUMBER TO VERIFY.
There are many different imposter scams, including:
Super low-priced offers for streaming services such as Netflix
Phony job offers
Alerts about package deliveries (UPS, USPS, FEDEX)
Fake Amazon security alerts
The median loss due to these scams is $3,000, and many people admitted to providing their Social Security numbers and other personal information to the scammers.
In Cohen’s case, they were after his bank account. He clicked a link in the fraudulent email, which took him to what appeared to be his bank’s sign-in page. He entered his information, unknowingly giving the scammers access to his account. He eventually discovered the alerts were not legitimate, but the damage had been done.
“When money is wired out of your account, it’s gone,” Cohen said. “This is an active case with the NYPD Cyber Security Unit. It’s very easy to fall prey to.”
The scheme was quite elaborate, and you can read all about it (or watch the video) and get Cohen’s tips for avoiding the same misfortune at the Today Show website.
Remember: Velocity will never contact you by email, text or phone to ask you for personal account information — that includes your card number, PIN, account number, online banking password, or one-time password (OTP). Never reveal this information to someone who contacts you. Never click on links or respond to unexpected texts.
Better safe than sorry — if you’re not sure a message is legit, contact us at 512.469.7000 or visit us here, online. Don’t use the information in the text message. For more helpful information on fraud and scams, or to report fraud, visit ftc.gov. Texting is cheap and easy, and scammers are counting on the ding of an incoming text being hard to ignore.