BBB: Phishing expeditions target direct deposit accounts - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

BBB: Phishing expeditions target direct deposit accounts

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For many, the convenience of having a paycheck deposited directly into their checking account is something they have come to rely on. It provides a no-hassle way to ensure that money is available for bills to be paid on time.

As with any banking transaction, however, scam artists are always looking for new ways to try to get their hands on your money. That now includes a form of phishing that takes aim directly at victims’ wallets and targets their direct deposit information.

Here's how it works:

An employee receives an email that mimics a trusted source. The e-mail asks the employee to click on a link, go to a website or answer a survey. Then, it directs the employee to “confirm” his or her identity by providing his or her log-in credentials. Skeptical employees who reply to the email are given a quick response, verifying the employee should complete the steps contained in the email.

The scam artists then use the employee’s log-in credentials to access payroll portals, reroute direct deposits to other accounts and jeopardize the employer’s network. In some versions of the scam, hackers access employee e-mails to request a password change from the employer’s payroll service, and then use the new log-in credentials to change direct deposit instructions.

According to the Better Business Bureau, some of the ways employees can try to avoid becoming victim to this kind of theft include the following:

  • Report the Scam. If you feel you have received a phishing email or text, do not click on the link. It is best to, instead, alert your employer immediately. If you believe you could become a victim of identity theft, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk at www.IdentityTheft.gov.
  • Use Two-Factor Authentication. This requires both your password and an additional piece of information to log in, protecting your account even if your password is compromised.
  • Back Up Your Files. It may be best to use an external hard drive or cloud storage. doing this regularly can help protect against viruses or a ransomware attack.
  • Keep Security Up-To-Date. Use security software you trust, and make sure you set it to update automatically.

Got a question for the BBB? Contact Regional Director Kelly Trevino at ktrevino@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

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