Citibank, Wells Fargo, Chase… Watch Out for Fake Bank Text Messages — Phishing & Zelle Scams
Have you received text messages from your bank about some “suspicious activities?” If you have, don’t click on any links — it’s a SCAM!
Recently we’ve detected a lot of fake “security alerts” from well-known banks, including Citibank, Citizens Bank, Wells Fargo, and Chase.
Falsely claiming that there are safety issues with people’s accounts, scammers prompt potential victims into clicking on the embedded links that lead to fake login pages of the impersonated banks:
- [Notice]: Your CITI debit has been blocked due to unusual activities.Confirm your details at <URL>
- Citibank: We detected unusual activity in your account. please follow this link <URL> to verify your identity.
- Citizens Bank: We have temporarily locked your Citizens Card due to unauthorized transactions. To unlock, verify now – <URL>
- Important Notice From WELLS FARGO! We detected a login from a new device! If this was you, Kindly disregard this sms.If not click <URL> to secure now!.B
Zelle Scams Targeting Bank Customers
Besides using fake login pages, scammers also utilize Zelle in their banking scams. Sometimes the scammers use other mobile payment apps too, but Zelle seems to be their preferred choice by far.
During these Zelle scams, the scammers first pose as a bank and send you a fake “security alert” that says you’ve approved a Zelle payment. You’re instructed to reply to the message or phone the provided number if you don’t recognize the payment — which you obviously won’t because it’s fake!
- Citi: Your $2,100.00 payment to Monteral Macon using Zelle® is being processed. Visit <URL> to verify or cancel payments anytime.
- FRM: ChaseBanking-ALERT-18005 SUBJ:Contact:606-887-NUMBER To Confirm Or Can MSG: oxxx-Did you just Zelle $512.68 To Mark J.
Then, on a phone call (of which the caller ID will be spoofed as the bank’s name), a scammer will pose as a bank employee and inform you that your bank account has been compromised. To stop you from losing all your money, the fake employee will urge you to use Zelle to transfer all your money to your own personal Zelle account.
They then guide you step-by-step into making a Zelle transaction — to a Zelle account you’re led to believe is your own. However, although the Zelle account is in your name, it is actually controlled by the scammers and any money sent to this account will go straight into their pockets!
How to Protect Yourself From Zelle Scams
- Double-check the sender’s mobile number/email address. Take note of caller ID, but be aware that it can be spoofed!
- Turn to the bank’s customer support directly for help if you think there are security issues with your bank account.
- Think twice before you make any payments through Zelle. Zelle suggests that you only use it with friends and family to better protect against scams. According to Zelle, if you “authorized” a payment, you may not be able to get your money back.
- NEVER click links or attachments from unknown sources. Use Trend Micro Check to detect scams with ease!
Trend Micro Check is an all-in-one browser extension and mobile app for detecting scams, phishing attacks, malware, and dangerous links — and it’s FREE!
After you’ve pinned the Trend Micro Check extension, it will block dangerous sites automatically! (Available on Safari, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge).
You can also download the Trend Micro Check mobile app for 24/7 automatic scam and spam detection and filtering. (Available for Android and iOS).
Check out this page for more information on Trend Micro Check.