CHICAGO (WLS) -- Scammers are zeroing in on vulnerable consumers in need of money during the COVID-19 pandemic with fake calls that look and sound like they're coming from legitimate banks.
The calls begin with a recorded greeting which is stolen from a real bank. Then a live agent joins, offering you a line of credit with a lower interest rate. But there's a catch, even though the offer may sound enticing.
Before getting you the supposed new line of credit, the caller asks for your current credit card number, expiration date and three digit CVV code on the back of the card.
"This is one of the many scams that we're starting to see relating to the financial impact of the pandemic I mean, given that, that there's a lot of people out of work," said Todd Kossow, director of the Federal Trade Commission's Midwest Region Office in Chicago. "Maybe behind on their, their credit card to their debt or their mortgage. We're seeing a lot of bank impersonation calls like this."
"We've gotten thousands of complaints like this. And they're, you know, where, where somebody is impersonating your bank, you know, and they could be offering a slew of different things, like I said credit card interest. Lower the interest rates on your credit cards. Other to help with your mortgage credit, increasing lines of credit, existing clients credit and low interest," Kossow added.
Kossow said people can be fooled because the number can be spoofed to make it look like it is coming from your bank, or they may use a similar recorded greeting which your bank uses.
So what should you do if you need financial help?
"Talk to your creditors. You know, if you're if you're having trouble paying your mortgage or if you're having trouble paying your credit card or other debts, you know, talk to the holder of that debt," advised Kossow. "And many of them have been granting you know forbearance during the pandemic. But, but, talk to them directly and call your mortgage company, or your bank at a number that you know to be correct."
If you get a call from someone claiming to be from your bank or any other bank, hang up. You can report the phone number and the incident to the FTC. The agency has a new fraud link to report scams like this.