02 Oct 2017

Beware Scammers Requesting Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

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Through the shadows they come with mal-intent—scammers attempting to steal your personally identifiable information (PII). These monstrous attempts can come in the form of phone calls, emails, or even messages on social media—so it is important to stay vigilant.

Learn more about these scams and what to do if you are contacted by a scammer below!

Types of Online Scams

There are many types of online scams which you should be aware of so that you can steer clear of them. The most common types of online scams are phishing and identity theft, described below. As a general rule, you should always be suspicious if anyone asks you for your personal information, whether online, in-person, on the phone, or on any social media sites.


Phishing is a type of scam in which a hacker will try to steal valuable information such as card numbers, user IDs, and passwords using different channels:

  • Email and SMS text messages: In this type of phishing, the hacker creates a fake website which looks very similar to an organization you may be affiliated with, and then sends you an email or text message requesting for you to log into that website with your personal details, including security access codes. When you enter your information into this fake page, it is directly sent to the hacker who can then use your personal information to gain access to real accounts.
  • Phone calls: Phishing can also occur over the phone, where a fraudster will pretend to be a representative from an organization you are affiliated with and ask for your personal details over the phone.

To avoid this type of scam, it is important that you never click on a hyperlink or download a file attached in an email or SMS text message unless you have fully confirmed that the sender is who they say they are. You should also verify hyperlinks before clicking on them by hovering your mouse over the link and checking if it is the same link as displayed in the text of the email, looking for any misspellings in the link or sender name, and Googling the organization to see if the link is the same as what is enclosed in the email.

In addition, you should never give your personal details to someone over the phone—especially if they have contacted you to request them. Verify that the caller is who they say they are before taking any further actions.

Identity Theft

Identity theft can take many forms, such as fraudulent credit card use, or even a fraudster taking on your identity to open bank accounts, secure a loan, and more.

To avoid this type of scam, you should always safely dispose of any personal and financial information such as account statements and bills and receipts by shredding them before throwing them away. In addition, make sure that the place where you receive your mail is secure, and sign up for electronic statements on your financial institution’s website—which is encrypted and equipped with the strictest safety regulations.

What to Do if You are Targeted

If you are contacted by a scammer, please notify the BMS Banking Center immediately (or, if you do not use a BMS Bank, your primary financial institution) with as much information as possible including a name, phone number, location and any other details you are able to find out. The BMS Banking Center will immediately notify the Bank upon your behalf. You can contact the BMS Banking Center at 800-634-7734 or banking@bmsadvantage.com.

If you feel as if you have fallen victim to a scammer, you should change all passwords for the affected accounts immediately. In addition, contact the fraud department of the three major consumer credit bureaus—Experian, Trans Union or Equifax—and request that they place a fraud alert in your file. In addition, you may request a free credit report which you may review to ensure no additional fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name.