Consumers

Did You Receive a Bank of America Fraud Alert?

Did You Receive a Bank of America Fraud Alert?
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Have you received an alert from Bank of America about suspicious activity on your account and you want to know if it’s real or not? Read on and perhaps this article will help.

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The Message

We received a call from 315-724-4022, and a message was left asking us to call 866-242-6289 due to suspicious activity on our account. Naturally, we approached this call with skepticism. When we looked at the back of the debit card in question, however, in fine print at the bottom it read, “From Outside the US call collect at 315.724.4022”.

So the number is definitely a legitimate Bank of America number. Of course phone numbers can be spoofed, so we still approached it with some caution. Here’s the voice mail that was left by 315-724-4022 (Xs are used here to replace personal information):

This is the ATM debit customer protection department at Bank of America calling for XXX regarding unusual activity on your ATM debt card ending in XXXX. Please call us at 1-866-242-6289 by July 20th and enter the message code XXXXXX. A temporary hold may have been placed on your account and will be removed upon verification of activity. If you subscribe to online and/or text alerts and have received or responded to an alert in the last 24 hours, please disregard this message. Again that number is 1-866-242-6289 by July 20 and enter the message code XXXXXX. If you are calling from outside the United States, you may contact us at 602-597-2395. Thank you.

After some Googling, we were moderately confident that the 866 number was legit. We called the 866-242-6289 number, still somewhat leery about the whole process. When we were connected to a live operator, she proceeded to tell us about certain charges on our account that only someone with access to this account would have.

Ironically, while we were on the phone with Bank of America, we received a text from from 70650, also claiming to be Bank of America. The text read, “FREE TEXT MSG alert-Bank of America has temporarily limited the use of you Debit Card due to irregular activity. Call 1-866-459-9195 To Opt Out reply STOP.”

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We’re not sure whey the text message used a different toll-free number, unless it’s for tracking purposes. But that number appears to be valid as well.

In some cases, Bank of America will simply verify charges, while other times they will issue a new card. It’s a slight but necessary annoyance, especially when you use your debit card for auto-pay features for certain accounts, such as car insurance.

It should be noted that the charge in question was for an online software purchase from a company located in Europe. This apparently raised a flag in Bank of America’s system. We have also been contacted for previous “suspicious activity” for online advertising on Facebook.

We’d rather have Bank of America err on the side of caution, and this is no way meant to serve as a complaint against them. The problem that most people seem to face with such fraud alerts is that they aren’t sure if the 315 or 866 numbers are even real, and this article seeks to verify that those numbers are valid. If, however, the 315 number calls you and asks you for personal information, it could be spoofed. Typically the 315 number is only used to alert you to call the 866 number.

June 2014 “New Debit Card”

In June 2014, a large number of readers informed us that they were receiving calls from this number, notifying them that a new debit card was sent in the mail. We have confirmed with Bank of America that a number of new debit cards were issued recently and that customers would be called and notified. The message states:

This is Bank of America with a very important message regarding your debit card. We were recently notified that information from some debit cards may have been compromised at a merchant or service provider. In order to help protect your account, we’ve sent you a new debit card with a new number and will be deactivating your old debit card. This call is to remind you to activate your new debit card immediately to avoid disruption in service. To activate your new debit card, please follow the instructions on the front of the debit card. If you have not received your debit card or have any questions, please call the back of your debit card.

Bank of America is careful to instruct customers to call the number on the debit card. If you have received this message but did not receive a new debit card in the mail, you may want to call the bank on the number listed on your current debit card.

Bottom Line

If you receive a similar message and still aren’t comfortable – especially if they start asking for personal information – simply call Bank of America at the number on the back of your debit card. Bank of America has issued a large number of new debit cards in June 2014 and has been calling to notify customers.

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