Banker trade group warns of phishing uptick

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The American Bankers Association (ABA) on Wednesday issued a new warning about a “sudden increase” in phishing scams being reported throughout the country.

Online miscreants are using automated dialers, text messages and emails to trick users into believing their accounts have been closed due to fraud, according to the alert. Users are subsequently directed to enter their credit card information, including expiration number and CV security code, to reactivate their account.

Cybercriminals typically ramp up their phishing efforts during the end of the year holiday season and following natural disasters, Doug Johnson, vice president of risk management policy at ABA, told SCMagazineUS.com on Thursday.

“Customer education is an ongoing process and it's good to periodically remind users that the threat exists and they need to protect themselves,” Johnson said.  

Businesses, he added, are especially vulnerable to spear phishing attacks aimed at specific individuals with access to a corporate bank accounts. 

The ABA has posted a list of tips users should follow to avoid becoming the victim of a phishing scam, including regularly checking credit card and bank account statements. In addition, users should never give out their personal or financial information in response to unsolicited phone calls or emails. Any suspicious activity should be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

The Idaho attorney general issued a similar consumer alert in late August warning of widespread phishing scams targeting state residents. Multiple individuals reported receiving phone calls and text messages claiming to come from their banks. The correspondences falsely claimed that the recipient's card was compromised, and asked for personal data to reactivate it.

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