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New bank imposter scam

Beware of a new bank imposter scam using digital wallets with the potential to affect you even if you’ve never used digital wallets on your mobile device.

How to help protect yourself:


  • Imposters call using spoofed phone numbers, often showing “Bank of America” on Caller ID. The fraudsters may claim there’s fraud on your account and ask you to move money to a digital wallet to resolve it.
  • When you transfer the funds, you might receive an actual bank alert, asking you to verify the transaction which the imposter instructs you to confirm it as valid.
  • If the transfer goes through, the imposter will give you “your new account number,” and tell you how to move money from your digital wallet to “your new account” which is actually the imposters’ account. Then, once the money is in the imposters’ account, they’ll abruptly end the conversation.

Steps to take to help protect yourself:


  • If you think you’ve fallen victim to an imposter scam, contact your wallet provider to report the incident.
  • If you added the imposters’ account number to your wallet, we recommend going to your wallet, then remove the fraudulent card. Refer to your digital wallet support pages if you need help.
  • Remember, we’ll never contact you and ask you to transfer money to another account, digital wallet or other payment type to resolve fraud.
  • For added convenience and increased security, use the MyMerrill or Bank of America Mobile Banking app every time you add a new card to your digital wallet.
  • Be suspicious of possible scams any time you’re asked to ignore warning messages, and never click through when you’re told to do so.

Phantom Hacker Scam trend

Scammers are now combining multiple scam types and are taking a phased approach to try build trust and make requests more convincing.

How the scam works:


  • Phase I - Impostor claiming to be Tech support - will call, claiming fraud is happening on your account. You need to download software, provide them remote access, and log into online banking for them to help resolve the issue.
  • Phase 2 - Bank imposter - You'll then receive a second call from an imposter claiming to be from your bank, who instructs you to electronically move money to a “safe" account, such as one with the Federal Reserve or another US Government agency.
  • Phase 3 - Government imposter - You’ll then get a third call from another imposter claiming to be a government official confirming the transaction. They may even send an official looking email or letter to make it look more legitimate.

How to help protect yourself:


  • Don’t click on unsolicited pop-ups, links or attachments sent via text message or email, or calling a telephone number given to you by the imposter.
  • Use caution if asked to download software at the request of an unknown individual who contacted you. Verify all requests before acting.
  • Never provide remote access to an unknown individual.
  • Being concerned if told to click through bank warning messages, they are there for a reason.
  • Hang up and call the number on your statement or back of your card, if you receive a suspicious call form someone purporting to be the Bank.

Investment Scam trend

While anyone who socializes, conducts business and communicates digitally can be targeted by cyber criminals, investors are now the number one target for internet crime.


Online investment scams are schemes to defraud people by convincing them to buy stocks, bonds, commodities, real estate or cryptocurrencies. The pitch, which usually comes after building a relationship via social media, is typically centered around sizable returns with minimal risk. The reality is often that there are no returns at all — and losses include your outlay to purchase the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.


How to help protect yourself:


  • If an offer or opportunity sounds too good to be true, chances are it is. It’s impossible to guarantee that any investment will be successful.
  • Swindlers often impersonate trusted people. Always double check the source of unsolicited communications and research investment managers/offers.
  • Never take investment advice from social media, email, text or applications.
  • Always validate requests for money, and use caution if asked to provide personal or financial information.

Read more about How to avoid cyber-enabled investment scams


Email compromise

You don’t have to work in the finance department of a big company to be the target of business email scams. Personal email compromise is when a cyber criminal takes over your personal email account and impersonates you by sending emails to request account updates, wire transfers and re-route your emails without you knowing. The requests appear to be legitimate because either the clients, advisor or companies have already engaged with the compromised email in the past.


Help protect your personal email from being compromised:


  • Use a complex password and update regularly - A strong password means a strong defense against hackers. See how to create strong passwords
  • Give all requests for funds a second look. If an email looks strange, or you don’t remember interacting with the sender before, look up the sender and email or call them (don’t use the number they provide).
  • Update all operating systems, apps and security software — including antivirus programs and firewall.
  • Login to MyMerril Online or in the mobile app and:
    • Updated your contact information so that we can contact you quickly in the event we see suspicious activity on your account.
    • Sign up for alerts including mobile push alerts - Choose security alerts to remind you to change your password or to inform you that someone has tried to log in from an unrecognized device.
    • Set Up 2-Factor Authentication to ensure you are prompted for a unique code when logging in online.

Wire scams

Talk with your trusted Financial Advisor about ways to protect yourself, and your money before sending a wire or transferring funds. Carefully review wire transfer requests and verify your instructions by speaking directly with your recipient. Once you send money, we may not be able to recover it.


Help protect yourself from wire scams, by using caution if:


  • You’re pressured to act urgently
  • You’re asked to open an account or deposit a check and then wire some or all of the money to someone you don’t know
  • You’ve mostly interacted with the recipient via email. You should always call the receiver on a phone number from a recent statement, receipt or by visiting an official website to verify the instructions before sending
  • Your recipient’s wire instructions or info changes at the last minute (particularly at home loan closings)

Think cautiously before sending money to someone you don’t know, or providing payment to businesses you haven’t worked with before


Check Fraud

Be alert to criminals targeting the mail to steal checks and other personal identifiable information with the intent to commit fraud and identity theft. Check fraud occurs when a criminal obtains money illegally using paper or digital checks. For example, criminals steal or intercept checks sent in the mail and then make changes to the recipient’s name, payment amount and other parts of the check using chemicals or other means. It often takes several weeks before you realize your check never reached its intended recipient.


Help protect yourself from check fraud:


  • Contact your financial advisory team to discuss additional ways you can send money using online payment methods such as Bill Pay, ACH or wire transfers.
  • Sign-up for direct deposit or deposit a check using the MyMerrill and Bank of America mobile apps. Be sure to write “For Deposit Only at Bank of America” and your bank account number under your signature, and destroy the original paper check within seven days.
  • Mail checks using certified mail (particularly high-value checks), a secured mailbox, or directly within the Post Office.



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