ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — There’s a new kind of scam to watch out for. It’s called vishing, and it’s even hooked an employee of the Better Business Bureau in Atlanta.
Anita Harris has worked for the Better Business Bureau Serving Metro Atlanta, Athens & Northeast Georgia for 36 years, educating the public on scams. She never thought she would fall for any scams herself, much less vishing. Many people are familiar with phishing, which is a scam attempting to get users to click on links so scammers can access their personal information. Vishing is when the scam is perpetrated by phone.
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Harris received a vishing call in late March 2021. “It came up on my caller ID as SunTrust Customer Service, because I had it obviously saved on my phone,” she said. The caller said the bank was investigating fraud on her bank account. He knew about an existing charge linked to her Amazon Prime Account, and he asked typical security questions. “When he said ‘I’m gonna send you out a link out for me to scan your computer and your phone,’ I knew something was going on,” said Harris.
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When he called again, her caller ID indicated the call was from a restricted number, but he claimed he was working remotely. She told him she had a meeting and would call him back in 30 minutes, and then she called SunTrust. The whole time, the caller was working with another person to change her contact and security information online. “They had accessed my online account. They had transferred $2,000 from my Money Market account and had completed 13 Zelle transactions,” said Harris.
Ultimately, they transferred close to a total of $3,000 from her bank account. The real SunTrust froze her accounts, including credit cards, but there’s no guarantee she will get her money back. She wants to prevent this from happening to others, and she offered some advice that applies to scam phone calls, emails and text messages. “Hang up, and you call the real company. Make yourself as secure as you can. Use two-point authentication,” Harris said, referring to a security feature that can prevent others from logging into your accounts.
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You should also report scams to the police and Federal Trade Commission.