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Attorney General James provides tips to protect New Yorkers from scam phone calls


Fri, Oct 27th 2023 05:00 pm

New York Attorney General Letitia James is providing tips to New Yorkers who are receiving fraudulent calls from individuals claiming to call from banks or other institutions.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has received complaints from New Yorkers in Western New York and across the state who are receiving calls from scammers impersonating banking institutions and trying to get their personal information, banking or security information, or money.

James urges New Yorkers to not engage with those callers and to avoid providing any personal information, transaction information, or codes over the phone.

“Scammers claiming to be a trusted bank, or any institution relied on for financial services, can seriously harm New Yorkers by taking their money and their personal information,” James said. “I urge everyone to be very careful when they receive an unexpected call from any individual claiming to represent their bank or a government agency. Please follow the tips provided by my office on how to handle and identify a scam call to protect yourself, your family, and your finances.”

The attorney general offers the following tips on how to handle phone scams:

√ Never give your personal or financial information to someone who calls you. Think of the phone as a “one-way street” – only give out personal information if you made the call. If banks do contact you by phone, it will be to request verification of activity. Banks will never call and then ask you to provide personal information, account or transaction information, or codes received over the phone.

√ Don’t engage the caller. Scammers can manipulate caller ID so that it appears to be an “official” call or a call from your city or town. If you do answer, just hang up if it seems like a scam. Consider using a call blocking app such as Nomorobo.

√ Contact your bank directly to resolve any concerns. If you have any doubts that the person on the phone is not legitimate or that your account may be in jeopardy, you should hang up and contact your bank directly using a trusted source, such as the number provided on the back of your debit card, or electronic messaging systems made available by banks online or through mobile apps.

√ Government agencies usually reach out to you in writing. A government agency will not call you and threaten your arrest or demand payment.

James also provides tips on how to identify a scam phone call. Some reported scam calls have included scammers claiming:

√ To be your bank calling about funds or recent account activity;

√ To be from a government agency, and that you will be arrested or deported unless you comply;

√ You’ve won a sweepstakes, but you must pay the taxes up front;

√ To be your grandchild in trouble who needs you to help them out;

√ To be holding a loved one hostage or to have incriminating information about you.

Sometimes callers are also interested in your personal and financial information. They may claim to need your Social Security, banking, or green card numbers in order to directly deposit money or to verify your identity. This is always an attempt to steal your identity. Never provide your personal information or bank codes over the phone.

New Yorkers who suspect that they are a victim of a phone scam are encouraged to file an online complaint with OAG’s consumer frauds bureau.

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