Financial institutions are spending millions of dollars each year, protecting their customers from scams. And, the amount of money they're spending is on the rise because of the increasing amount of email solicitations.
Now, more of these scams are hitting closer to home.
We spoke with a local woman Tuesday who received two emails within three days.
Both were claiming to be from separate banking institutions and needed her personal account information to fix a problem.
The funny thing is, she's never before done business with either bank.
At first glance, the emails looked authentic. They have the company logo on them, email ID numbers and even copyright information at the bottom.
"It just sounds so legitimate. It looks legitimate," said Linda Price, who received the fraudulent emails.
However, when Price received the emails, she was immediately tipped off by the fact that she's not even a member of either bank. "My concern was all the customers of these banks that receive these emails that are not aware of what's going on," she says.
The emails are supposedly being sent by Bank of America and Regions Bank.
However, both institutions have verified they are scams.
Representatives from Regions Bank tell us that they rarely have a problem like this targeting their customers. But just within the past week, they've had two reports of some sort of email fraud.
Sergeant Jon Beeson of the Dothan Police Department was once a victim of these types of scams himself. "In my particular case, I monitor my activity constantly and I noticed there was some activity going on at that point and was able to gather some information," he explains.
His case was resolved after he filed a police report and got in touch with his local bank branch.
Looking back, his advice, personally and professionally, is to constantly monitor your accounts and be able to access your information quickly, if needed.
He also lives by a general rule of thumb, "I often tell people, if I get an opportunity to talk with them about these matters, that if it doesn't feel right, it's most likely not. Trust your gut instinct," he says.
In most cases, the money taken is never recovered.
When a bank has a customer with these issues, most the time it's the bank that ends up reimbursing the stolen money.
It can take days to resolve the issue, but in some cases, it could take quite a few weeks.
Each state, including Alabama, has recently enacted the Consumer Identity Protection Act, which is supposed to protect anyone against identity theft.
Visit http://www.ftc.gov/ for more information on the act or to report these scams.
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