Scammers use fake chat boxes to steal bank info -

Scammers using fake help chats

Crooks are getting pretty savvy when it comes to online scams. There's a scary one you need to watch out for if you do your banking online: Criminals are creating fake "chat boxes" in hopes of draining your account.

Rex Hockemeyer with Union First Market Bank says crooks are using fake pop-up chat boxes to collect your personal information. He says, "It is difficult to track and these people are computer programmers, so they are pretty savvy."

It happens when your computer is infected with malware. The malicious program waits for you to enter a bank site and then attacks. A fake chat box that appears to be from your bank pops up and the criminals go to work.

"The scammer will ask for your personal information, your user ID, your password, maybe your account number. Banks already have that information," Hockemeyer says.

A red flag you're infected with this chat box virus is that you may get a grammatically challenged message on your computer that says, "The system couldn't identify your PC. You will be contacted by a representative of bank to confirm your personality. Please pass the process of additional verification otherwise your account will be locked."

The key to protection, Hockemeyer says, is to remember that the bank already knows who you are and will never ask for your personal information. If someone does, it is almost always a scam. Log off the site and call your bank.

Another safeguard is to download an antivirus program on your computer.

"Load it on your computer, make sure it is current. That will protect a large percentage from these types of scams, because the software can't be loaded on your computer to begin with," Hockemeyer says.

Banks like Union First work hard to keep you safe and offer tips on their website about scams and fraud schemes to watch out for.

Charles Driest is the Online Banking Manager for Union First. He says this pop-up box scam shouldn't deter you from banking online.

"Definitely don't be afraid," he adds. "Online banking is very safe. We utilize multiple levels of security."

Banking experts say when you use the chat box feature, pay close attention to the message from the person on the other end. Check for grammar mistakes, look for your bank's logo and other branding to be consistent with your banking site.

Union First says it is not aware of any victims and like all banks, it continues to work hard to stay one step ahead of the criminals.

Driest says, "You look at bank vaults and bank vaults went from being very simple, to very sophisticated. Online is very much the same thing."

If you think you're a victim, don't wait around! Check your account to make sure all your money is there and contact your bank.

For more information on this scam visit the link below.


Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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