Scams are circulating – be cautious before you call or click!
You probably hear about various online and phone scams frequently, and maybe you are event a victim of the fraudulent “car warranty” phone calls. However, fraudsters have also been using banking scams to target susceptible customers recently. There have been a rise in mysterious postcards being mailed to customers referring to a recently closed mortgage you may have with ours or another bank. The postcard will ask you to call a phone number to discuss the matter. These postcards are not from Northwest Bank & Trust Company. If you receive a postcard like this, it is a scam – do not call the number.
As an example, this postcard is NOT from Northwest Bank (nor is it from Norwest Bank):
Have you already called? Contact Northwest Bank immediately.
It’s important to know the signs and be wary of fraud, especially when you’re being asked to take immediate action or provide sensitive information over the phone. Northwest Bank would never send you a postcard requesting that you call us regarding your mortgage. All communications regarding your personal accounts would be through first class mail in sealed envelopes, through email personally addressed to you, or by direct phone calls. If you feel that you’ve already fallen victim to a mortgage postcard scam like this or another scam, please call us at 563-388-2511 so we can help you take the next steps.
Here are some tell-tale signs to watch out for letting you know it’s a scam:
- In the bottom right corner, you’ll see a “All information provided by LeadPros…Loan information not provided by Norwest Bank”. All of our communications would clearly state that it is from Northwest Bank.
- Postcards coming from other names such as loandepot.com, Heritage Warranty Company (H.W.C.), and Mortgage Protection Services are bogus companies as well.
- You’ll notice a Mortgage ID number displayed. Northwest Bank would not show any personal information of yours on a postcard.
- The phone number displayed does not match Northwest Bank’s main customer phone number.
- Anything sent in the mail with information regarding your mortgage, loans, or bank accounts will be in a sealed envelope, never in a postcard. That’s a big red flag!
Even though you may actually have a mortgage with Northwest Bank and receive this postcard doesn’t make it legitimate. Mortgage filings are in public record, so fraudsters are able to easily scrape that data and use it in their scams.
Another scam: computer virus notices
Another scam has come to our attention. It’s not a new technique, rather it’s the phishing email fraudsters often use.
This particular scam involves a fraudster posing as a nationally known antivirus software company representative to socially engineer their victims. Traditionally done through a pop-up message on the victim’s computer, the fraudster either gets the victim to think:
- They have a virus on their computer, or
- Their antivirus software needs to be upgraded
Fraudsters are now sending victims an email appearing to be from a nationally known antivirus software company and advising that the victim has recently upgraded their antivirus software. The email is a receipt for the upgrade, typically ranging from $200 to $1,000.
The fraudulent email gives a number to contact the company if the victim wants to discuss or dispute this upgrade charge. However, the number isn’t to the real company; it’s to the fraudster. When the victim calls the fraudster to dispute the charge, the fraudster convinces the victim to let the fraudster have remote access to the victim’s computer to verify that no viruses are on the victims computer.
Once the victim allows this to happen, the fraudster finds a bogus virus and subsequently convinces the victim to provide the victim’s online banking credentials to the fraudster so they can do a “test run” to make sure the virus didn’t infect the victim’s bank account. The “test run” will be the fraudster depositing a remote deposit capture check in the amount of around $5,000 into the victim’s account.
The fraudster will verify with the victim that the victim’s account shows a pending deposit of $5,000. The victim is then instructed to proceed to their financial institution the same day and withdraw $4,000 or more from their account and mail it via UPS or FedEx to the fraudster for reimbursement of the “test run.”
The fraudster advises the victim their antivirus software has been upgraded free of charge and the victim can keep the remaining balance for the misunderstanding of the antivirus software update email.
If you have received any emails claiming to be from an antivirus company and requesting you to call them, ignore these emails. At Northwest Bank, it’s our goal to be aware of scams, and our teller staff is trained to spot suspicious activity like this. We have a great track record of preventing fraud on our customers accounts. However, we also make it our goal to educate our customers about potential scams. If you feel that you’ve fallen victim to a scam involving your bank account, please contact us.