FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — For one Central Valley woman, a phone call almost cost her thousands of dollars.
Spoof calls, which experts say are a tactic used by scammers to acquire bank account information from unsuspecting people, are becoming more common.
“My telephone rings and I look at the caller ID and it’s Bank of America,” explains Julie Megill, who says she picked up the call and spoke to what she describes as a friendly bank representative. “He stated there had been suspicious activity on your account.”
From there, the scammer said he needed her bank account number to stop the “suspicious activity.”
Megill obliged, and that’s when the money started draining from her account.
Initially, Megill’s bank account record showed a charge for $504, and then a much larger $3,387. All in all the scammers got nearly $4,000.
“The reason I did speak and give the information was because Bank of America’s caller ID was on my phone,” explained Megill.
Experts say you might not be able to trust the caller ID on your phone.
“When someone sends you a message from Bank of America, and they ask you information about your account, you can pretty well account that’s not Bank of America” explains Blair Looney, President of the Better Business Bureau. “You’ve been spoofed, and they’re looking to harvest what they can from you.”
“I did feel shame,” Megill says. “Shame and embarrassment.”
Megill’s not the only one. Spoof calls are becoming so prevalent that Bank of America has issued a warning, telling their customers “don’t trust caller ID.”
A call to Bank of America’s customer service to obtain a reimbursement was unsuccessful.
“She came in the room and she was in tears with me,” says Morgan Brandt, Megill’s daughter. “She said ‘I don’t think I’m going to get that money back, it’s gone.'”
Luckily, it wasn’t. After CBS47 On Your Side made a call to Bank of America and explained Megill’s situation, her money was reimbursed.
As the volume of spoof calls increase, experts say it’s important for people to know that Megill’s story is increasingly common.
“At the BBB we see this almost every day,” explains Looney.