Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank. In this time of expanded use of online and mobile banking, the problem is only growing worse. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission’s report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $5.8 billion to phishing scams and other fraud in 2021—an increase of more than 70 percent over 2020.

Spotting the Scam

One trick to staying clear of scams is knowing what to look for. Just in time for Cybersecurity Awareness Month, FirstBank has joined the American Bankers Association and banks across the country in a nationwide effort to fight phishing—one scam at a time.

It starts with these four words: Banks Never Ask That.

What’s the Deal with Phishing?

Before we dive into some common red flags, let’s quickly review what phishing is. Simply put, phishing occurs when fraudsters contact victims by email, telephone, or text message, posing as a legitimate entity to trick the unsuspecting person into providing sensitive information such as bank account details, passwords, and other identifying information. The scammer uses this information to access sensitive accounts, resulting in financial loss.

Phishing attempts can be very convincing, as scammers will often fake business logos and email addresses in order to appear legitimate. But no matter how convincing it may seem, remember that FirstBank already has your information on file and won’t request this information unless you are already logged into our secure website.

Four Red Flags to Watch For

Keep your money safe by watching out for these four red flags.

  1. Text Message: If you receive an unsolicited text message from someone claiming to be your bank asking you to sign in, or offer up your personal information, it’s a scam. Banks Never Ask That.
  2. Email: Be wary of emailed attachments and watch out for emails that ask you to click a suspicious link or provide personal information. The sender may claim to be someone from your bank, but it’s a scam. Banks Never Ask That.
  3. Phone Call: Would your bank ever call you to verify your account number? No! Banks Never Ask That. If you’re ever in doubt that the caller is legitimate, just hang up and call your bank directly. FirstBank is here to help, 24 hours a day, at 1-800-964-3444.
  4. Payment Apps: Beware of text messages from someone claiming to be your bank saying your account has been hacked. The scammer may ask you to send money to a new account they’ve created for you, but that’s a scam! Banks Never Ask That.

Additional Resources

As long as there is money to be made, fraudsters will continue to scam folks. However, you don’t have to be a victim. Learn how you can protect yourself from scams, identity theft, and more on our financial literacy page.

For tips, videos and an interactive game to help you keep phishing criminals at bay, visit www.BanksNeverAskThat.com. And be sure to share the webpage with your friends and family.

If You’re a Victim

If you have further questions or concerns or think you might be a victim of card fraud, please call FirstBank’s fraud department immediately at 800-964-3444, or call the number on the back of your card.

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