State Attorney General Warns Against Fake Banking Website Scam (Free Content)

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The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul issued a warning last week about a new scam that seeks to use fake banking websites to target consumer personal information.

The scammers create the websites to make them look like a legitimate banking website in order to trick consumers into believing that they are entering their personal information to create a bank account. The IDFPR has become aware of at least two such fraudulent websites.

“No one is immune to online scams, so it’s critical that people protect their personal and financial information from thieves,” Raoul said. “Take a little extra time to confirm you’re dealing with a legitimate company, especially when sharing sensitive information for something like opening a bank account.”

The IDFPR recommends that consumers considering opening a bank account contact their bank directly to do so.

Raoul encourages Illinois residents to protect their personal information online by taking the following steps:

  • Use trusted sites rather than going through a search engine. Be sure to enter website addresses accurately, as scammers take advantage of misspellings of popular websites. Scammers register variant domains of legitimate websites to lure consumers to fake websites.
  • Beware of websites with spelling mistakes, sloppy grammar and poor design quality, which could be indicators that a website is fraudulent.
  • Read reviews of unknown companies to find out from other users if the website might be a scam. Do an online search for a company’s name with the words “scam” or “review” when you visit new websites.
  • Pay for your online purchases with a credit card so that the transaction is protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Liability for fraudulent credit card charges is generally limited. Paying with a debit card or gift card may not offer such guarantees.
  • Use caution when entering personal information or downloading new software. Scammers can steal your personal or financial information or install malware on your device that can lead to identity theft.
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