Help Me Hank Consumer Alert: Suspicious emails

Email Red Flags: How to spot phishing fakes

Are you too trusting when it comes to believing emails that pop into your inbox, asking for your personal information? The Help Me Hank consumer producer recently received two emails stating his Bank of America account had been suspended.

At first glance, the email seemed legitimate. The Bank of America logo appeared at the top and there was an official-looking Bank of America address at the bottom of the email. The producer's heart sank as he wondered if there might be some trouble with his account. However, as he looked more closely at the email, he noticed all the classic red flags our consumer unit tells people to look for in suspicious emails.

Up first, poor spelling and bad grammar. Sentences such as "We observed multiple login attempt error," and "We have temporarily suspend your account..."

He also noticed the email was addressed to "Recipient". He thought it was unlikely that Bank of America would send such a sensitive email and not use his personal email address. The producer called Bank of America, at the number on his credit card, and confirmed this email was bogus. There was no problem with his account.

More Errors Revealed, What To Do

The Help Me Hank unit contacted Bank of America and a spokesperson says the bank never sends out emails, unsolicited, to ask for personal information. Bank of America also said it would never use a link to ask you to put personal information online.

These "phishy" emails included one of those link. If the fake warnings in the email are the bait, the link is the hook, scammers use to grab your personal information to gain access to your account.

Finally, remember the "official" looking address for Bank of America? The company confirmed, while the city was correct, the other information was bogus.The scammers made up the address, hoping to make the email seem more legitimate.

Coping with Bogus Emails

Once you know how to spot these emails, train yourself never to click on the link. Also, never replay to the sender or call any phone numbers included in the email. Instead, call a phone number you find on your credit card or account statement. If you call a number in the email, you could be reaching out directly to the scammers instead of getting actual assistance.

Also, pay special attention to how your bank or financial institution will contact you if there is a legitimate problem. You can direct your bank to use a specific type of communication so you know when the warning or alert is actually legitimate.

It's important to remember, phishing emails can come from any bank or other companies. The Help Me Hank producers has received similar emails from gyms (where he doesn't have a membership) and other businesses. If you're not doing business with a company and you get a "phishy" email, you know you can delete that message immediately.

If you are doing business with that company, remember to find a legitimate phone number to call for help.

Bank of America wants its customers to know you can also send those bogus emails to abuse@bankofamerica.com. That will help them investigate the email and they may be able to learn more about the scammers trying to get your information.

The company also provided more information about possible fraud.

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