FARMERS BRANCH, Texas ( – It started with a message message.“Free Msg – financial institution OF AMERICA Fraud

Alert – walk You attempt A Zelle

Payment because that The quantity Of

$3,500.00 count YES or NO or 1 To

STOP Fraud Alerts”

Mindy Philips, a longtime financial institution of America customer, claimed the post startled her, so she replied “No”.

You are watching: Bank of america data breach 2021

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Immediately, Philips’ cell phone rang. The caller ID verified “Bank the America.” She answered. The human on the other end calmly said Philips she account was jeopardized so in bespeak to safeguard her money, she required to make a Zelle transfer.

“I didn’t hesitate because I assumed that mine money was gone,” Philips explained. “But the moment I acquired off the phone, i knew that I had actually done miscellaneous terribly wrong.”

By then it was too late. Philips lost almost $3,000 come the scam.

“I looked at my account and everything to be zeroed,” she said. “I felt an extremely vulnerable.”

Mindy Philips (credit: CBS 11 News)

Others throughout the country have additionally reported falling victim to a bank of America impersonation scam.

A CBS 11 I-Team investigation found this cheat to be targeted and sophisticated. The scammers are exploiting a loophole in the federal consumer protection regulations by having their victims pay with payment apps.

Unlike numerous random phishing scams, this scammers had enough personal information about Philips to do their story an ext believable. Lock knew Philips’ name, her cell number, and also knew she had an account with bank of America. All of this info they likely obtained from a data breach.

Then as soon as they called, spoofing computer system software would certainly have permitted the scammers come manipulate the caller i would to make it come up together “Bank that America”.

However, consumer advocates point to the final step of this cheat that renders it irreversible.

When Philips moved money from her financial institution account, she supplied the payment app Zelle. Money sent with payment apps, choose Zelle, PayPal Friends and also Family, Venmo, and also Cash App, are instantaneous.

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“That’s the factor payment are the perfect payment an approach for scammers,” said John Breyault with the National customer League.

Federal regulations require banks and credit map issuers to carry out fraud defense for consumer who usage debit and credit cards.

However, customers of payment apps room not noted with the very same fraud protection since of loophole in the federal electronic Funds deliver Act.

The legislation says transactions ~ above payment apps initiated through the consumer cannot be taken into consideration an “unauthorized transfer” and thus room not protected.

Breyault, who testified in prior of Congress, claimed the same fraud protections listed to credit and debit card users must be expanded to payment apps users.

“When consumers lose money since of fraud, we want them to it is in made whole,” that said. “We think the duty for that must lie on the banks and the credit transaction card companies and the payment platforms that are making billions of dollars off of these transactions. “

Analysts approximated fraud top top payment apps are almost four times greater than ~ above debit and also credit cards.

When Philips called financial institution of America around the scam, she was told to paper a fraud claim. Two months later, she said she obtained a letter indigenous the bank telling she there was nothing the financial institution could do.

Philips then reached out come the CBS 11 I-Team.

Shortly ~ the I-Team contacted the bank of America corporate office, the financial institution credited Philips’ account for the money she lost in the scam.

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Bank that America explain (credit: CBS 11 News)

In a composed statement, bank of America spokesperson called the I-Team:

“In instances like this, scammers may spoof legit phone numbers and also impersonate legitimate businesses and also attempt to convince people to provide their personal information. We remind clients the they should not carry out confidential account details to unidentified individuals. Bank of America and also other legitimate carriers would no ask a customer to move funds between accounts in order to aid prevent fraud nor inquiry sensitive account information. We have actually a number of measures in ar to proactively warn clients about scams, and we regular reach the end to customers with information about how to remain safe and also avoid scams. In addition, we save clients notified about brand-new scam alerts with our client Security facility on our website (”

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Fraud experts say the single best reminder to avoid becoming a victim to scams like this is whenever who claiming to it is in from her bank, credit transaction card, or payment application calls, cave up. If you space still came to the contact may have been legitimate, uncover the phone call number ~ above your financial institution statement or on the ago and your credit card and also call.