GREENSBORO, N.C. (CBS Local) — A North Carolina woman says she was recently tricked out of $2,000 in a scam that experts say could happen to just about anybody who has money in a bank.
Candice Terrell said she was just about to go on vacation when she received what appeared to be a text from her bank about possible fraudulent activity on her debit card.
“It was basically a question asking if I spent like $2,900 at a Publix,” Terrell told CBS affiliate WFMY.
Terrell said she immediately texted “no” back and then received a phone call within minutes from “Kevin at BB&T.” He told Terrell that it appeared someone was trying to use her card at a Publix, but that BB&T caught it and card would be frozen.
“I was glad he was helping,” said Terrell.
But after “Kevin” began asking her a series of questions, she became suspicious.
“I said ‘Kevin, I hope you don’t take this personally but how do I know you’re with BB&T,'” said Terrell.
“Kevin” told her to Google the phone number displayed on caller ID display and it matched the main number for BB&T.
Terrell didn’t know it at the time, but she had become a victim of “spoofing” — a technique that scammers use to falsify the number that shows up on caller ID to make the call appear legitimate and trick someone into giving away valuable personal information.
Having gained her trust, “Kevin” then told Terrell she would be transferred to a different line where she would key in her PIN number to freeze that account and then he would come back on the line to set up the new account.
But once Terrell punched in that PIN number “Kevin” had access to her account and started to steal her money.
“He transferred money from my savings account into my checking account and started buying stuff,” said Terrell.
At some point during the conversation with “Kevin,” BB&T noticed the fraud taking place and emailed Terrell about the unusual activity on her card. But “Kevin” was ready for that possibility and was bombarding Terrell with random emails to distract her from seeing BB&T’s alert.
“They (BB&T) sent me an alert but I didn’t notice it because my phone was blowing up,” said Terrell. “I received more than 150 messages in like 20 minutes, now I know why.”
Terrell thought her money was safe but then got a new text from BB&T that her account was overdrawn. She called the bank and learned she and at least three other BB&T customers had been scammed in a similar fashion.
BB&T would not confirm how many people have been victimized, but Terrell has been told all her money will be reimbursed.
The bank told WFMY that while it will text customers about potentially fraudulent activity, it won’t ask customers to verify their one-time passcode, PIN, password or online banking credentials in an unsolicited phone call or text.