Don’t play games with your online and mobile banking

Last month the FBI warned consumers about a new online backing hoax as warning consumers about, called “Gameover.”  Gameover is a malware (software designed to hurt your computer and to steal information) that comes to you via an email message, supposedly from National Automated Clearing House Association, the Federal Reserve or the FDIC.

How does Gameover work?

The message attempts to trick you into logging into “your account” or a reasonably, believable fake site, and basically handing over your information as you log in.  Gameover takes over your computer and is able to obtain usernames, addresses, passwords and then of course, your money.  But that’s not the best part of this “game.”   The “bad guys” then attempt to make sure you can’t head over to bank account in a new window or tab and use their link instead by creating a Denial of Service attack.  a DDOS attack shuts down a business or person’s website using a botnet at the server so the link “in” maybe the only way you see to handle your personal finance emergency.

No mystery to these mystery shoppers

The newest investigations have uncovered that once the money is stolen, that the thieves will go out and by high priced ticket items, often hiring people through work at home advertisements or mystery shopper assignments.  They “purchase” stolen goods like jewelry and then help to sell them and launder the money. Some know and don’t care, while others think they are simply doing a job.  The FBI warns that “money mules” as these people are called are: ” instructed to either open a bank account or use their own bank account in order to receive funds via wire and ACH transactions from numerous banks…and then use money remitting services to send the money overseas.”

The FBI also warns the thieves’ hacking capabilities can navigate around common user authentication methods banks use to verify your identity, which is certainly a cause for concern. Those additional authentication steps are meant to provide additional security, but more often they end up providing personal questions, birth dates or other pieces of private information to the wrong people.

With mobile and online banking becoming every more popular and convenient we need to remember that is could also become even more convenient for thieves to use to steal or more personal or business information.   Avoid these types of banking scams by:

  • Use up to date antivirus software on both your computer as well as any other software programs.   This includes keeping updates current.
  • If you do not know the sender, do not open the embedded link in the message, even if you do what will it hurt to ask if they mailed you something?
  • Remember banks will not contact you directly using your email and ask you to give your personal information in an email message.
  • Carefully review your bank account balances on a regular basis to find discrepancies.  If you find them, talk to your bank immediately.

If you have been a victim of this type of scam contact your financial institution to report it, and file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.