Did You Receive a Bank of America Fraud Alert?

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 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.

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 complain 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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  • waffles

    In my case, yes they did call from that number. But as you point out, and as we stated in the article, numbers can be spoofed, so it’s best to call them yourself.

  • dburntz

    I received a message from BofA – did not ask for a call back, but stated that there has been a compromise and they have issued and sent me a new debit card.

    There has been a massive fraud issue here in St. Louis at the Schnuck’s grocery store chain. something like 2.5M cards compromised. I have been monitoring my accounts – but I’m glad that BofA just went ahead and did this proactively.

    • Adri

      I got that same message – weird thing is that I haven’t banked with BOA for the past 5+ years… I called them and asked what might be happening and he said it was likely a fraudulent call and to go to my nearest branch to confirm.

    • J. L.

      Recieved the same call with same message. It is legit -in my case- because I know it is due to the Schnucks incident. BoA had already automatically sent me a replacement of my Credit Card a few weeks ago so I figured the debit card would be following shortly behind. What a mess all that Schnucks business has become. Ugh

  • Donna

    received text messages, about my card being lock need to call this number 727 861-7280. Funny thing is i don’t bank with bank of america. called tmobile and they walk e thur how to block and sent a message back to them to stop.

  • Joe

    If by “relatively simple to correct”, you mean redesign our country’s telcom infrastructure, you would be correct. However, it’s not that simple.

  • Casper

    With all due respect, how is this ‘err on the side of safety’ a good thing? Your account and fraudulent transactions made against it are insured by the FDIC.

    This is ‘Loss Prevention’ in the crudest, ugliest terms. BofA isn’t protecting you and your assets, it’s protecting those of their shareholders.

    Don’t believe me? Travel to a foreign country and attempt to use your card. It will decline your transaction and lock your account. You will be given these numbers and codes to call. They will suggest that you get a new card sent to you, and you will have to strenuously argue otherwise. They will inform you that the account that was locked in milliseconds cannot be unlocked for ‘2 business days’. You will discover the days turning into weeks in which you will be deprived of all of your money and dependent upon the generosity of others while a stranger in a strange land (While making daily calls to BofA, Visa, and your branch manager – to no avail.).
    Your trip will be ruined. You will return home and find a new card sitting in your mailbox (for anyone at home or the post office to intercept and activate).

    None of this will be due to no fault of your own. You will have done nothing wrong, but BofA will try to convince you otherwise at each frustrating step of the process.

    BEWARE

    • Cerridwen

      With all due respect to you Casper…. The Electronic Fund Transfer Act limits your liability for unauthorized transactions to $50 if your debit card was lost or stolen or you saw an unauthorized transaction from your account and you notify the bank within two business days. But if you wait more than two business days, you may be responsible for up to $500 or even more. – straight from FDIC Consumer News

      The belief that we as consumers have 0 responsibility is incorrect

      Bank of America was acting in your best interest. Did you notify Bank of America that you would be using your card while out of the country? If not, then of course this activity would be suspicious to Bank of America. Especially since most of our credit card numbers are stolen while making normal everyday purchases locally, online, or data breaches on companies that have consumer credit cards on file for monthly bill pay, then the numbers are bought/sold/traded to criminals who either use the number online or via telephone to make purchases or produce a clone card (if they have the capability)

      When you contacted the bank and they confirmed that the purchase attempts were in fact yours, you agreed to close that card down and have a new card (new account number) issued … or as you stated they suggested a new card despite your protests.. This would be a first for me and I work in a fraud department – not affiliated with any creditor or bank- but once it is confirmed that the activity was NOT fraud, banks will not usually “suggest” a new card number be issued.

      Once a bank cancels a card and issues a new card, again new account number, the old card is no longer valid and cannot be used.

      When the rep stated that a new card would be sent out to you, did you advise the rep of the date that you expected to return home? I have dealt with issues similar and when the bank is informed of the urgency and that the consumer is out of town/country, the creditors/banks will overnight the new card to your location -provided that you can answer a series of security questions a bit more in-depth than the average ones they ask when you normally contact the creditor/bank. If the creditor/bank does not send the new card overnight to your location then they will wait until you return before sending it out if you inform them to do so.

      I certainly hope that you have a trusted individual that picks up your mail or that you stop mal delivery while you are away for an extended amount of time. If not, I highly recommend doing so instead of letting any piece of mail SIT in your mailbox until your return.

      By the way, the replacement card could have been intercepted by anyone at home or the post office as you stated … even at the airport, while you were in town just as easily as when you were out of the country. This would be why the activation strip usually has the statement “activate from your home phone”. Just another way the big bad banks are not looking out for you.

  • Steve

    If you are paranoid, or even if you are just mildly concerned . . . close all your accounts at Bank of America and open accounts at a local credit union or other small FDIC insured institution. BofA is too large a target and cannot keep up with the increasing cyber-activity aimed at them. I am certain that someone cares at BofA but — as cynical as this sounds I have to say that — I simply have not found any of them when dealing with this kind of issue.

    I opened an account with a local credit union a few years back and kept my BofA account because they had my mortgage. I get spam, hoax text, and hoax calls all under the name of BofA. This has NEVER, never happened on my credit union account.

  • Rob From VA

    This is a Scam: The BoA Fraud Dept has confirmed to me this morning that this is a Phishing Scam. If you have any problems, call BoA at 1.800.432.1000, and report these guys.

  • waffles

    Hey Katherine, we are not associated with Bank of America.

  • Ted

    I got a call today. They wanted my expiration date & CVN. My BS detector went off. Those 2 numbers are SECURITY ITEMS, not ID items. They got the date by I cancelled the call when they asked for the CVN.

    I’m going to the Bank today.

  • Terrresa

    I got a phone call, a text message, an email, and a Fraud Alert notice in my online banking message center – all at about the same time. Interesting that they had different phone numbers to report to, but I also recently bought Minecraft and this was legit. I am awaiting the arrival of a new card.

  • Angel

    I got a call today but didn’t answer. Called the bank directly and they asked for my card expiration date & CVN which doesn’t seem right at all.

    They’ve done this a few times so far while I’ve had my account, always on the weekend. Seems like they’re trying to prove that they’re on the ball, but when there actually was criminal activity on my account recently, NOTHING. The criminals drained my account with no alerts from Bank of American whatsoever, I discovered it myself.

  • &4&

    I work for the fraud dept and we do I repeat do ask for cvv and expiration. Fraudsters with ciuntefit cards have incorrect cvv info and we use a program to detect for validity. 90 percent of the calls I get I verify cvv and exp . And then people complain but I’m telling its legit and do not cuss us out for future ref. Just helping to keep or money secure.

  • Karen

    I read a comment from 2013 that said making a purchase on Facebook was their culprit…I just bought my daughter a Starbucks gc on Facebook, first time using their gift purchase feature, and now I’m getting a new card as well. I thought it was great and was making a list of who to send gifts to next. Why is Facebook still causing security breeches is my question; they can’t be trusted and now I must warn my friends not to copy me and send fb gifts. smh

  • Carson

    Just received this call myself from that number and was pretty leery as well. I called the back of America direct number 18004321000 and after verification info, was told by an automated voice that there’s been suspicious activity and that I’ll be transferred to their fraud department. I’ve also gotten the text alert about this as well. That number luckily wasn’t spoofed for me.

  • jakeViz

    I don’ even bank with BofA and got the debit card call this AM

    I have 0 accounts, 0 credit cards, 0 debit cards related to this bank…this is definitely not legit.