Fake fraud department phone call tricks South Fla. woman into giving out her personal information

WEST PALM BEACH - Scammers "phish" for information on the computer, but have you heard of vishing? That's where thieves 'phish' or search for information over the phone.

We spoke with a South Florida woman who was duped into this over the phone. She doesn't want her name revealed for security reasons, so for this story we called her Joan. 

"I feel violated. I feel like someone broke into my house and robbed me," said Joan. 

This 78 year old was robbed, just by picking up her phone.

"What did you end up giving them?" asked NewsChannel 5's Jenn Strathman.

"Everything. My social security number, my drivers license, my mothers maiden name," said Joan. 

If I can be fooled anybody can be fooled," said Joan. 

Twice, the thieves fooled Joan into thinking they were a legitimate company.

In the first fake call, the thieves pretended to be Wells Fargo calling to verify a transfer of money from Joan's Bank of America account.

"I thought it was nice of Wells Fargo to call me, and warn me. I thought it was nice of them to give me the number to Bank of America to call and verify all this," said Joan. 

The Consumer Watchdog found the verification number was fake. The 1-800 number given to Joan sounded legitimate, but doesn't belong to Bank of America.

Our calls to the fake bank 800-number went unanswered.

"They're not in the business to just gather information, they're in the business to do something with the information," said Joan. 

Joan closed all her accounts, but still worries about identity theft.

A crime she made herself vulnerable to in a matter of minutes.

"I'll be edgy for a long time unless I know these people are caught and something is done about them," said Joan. 

We called the fake bank 800-number several times and noticed it changed. Sometimes the recorded message is for Bank of America and other times it was Wells Fargo.

Both banks confirm that this was not their number.

How do you protect yourself?

Never give out personal information over the phone unless you initiate the call, and if you need the fraud department, call the number on the back of your credit card or bank statement.



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