Text Message Scams Targeting Dentists & Oral Care Professionals

Fake text messages from scammers pretending to be local banks and institutions account for the largest number of scams that dentists receive. In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission received fraud reports from consumers, with total claims amounting to $5.8 billion

Scammers are cunning. They use diverse strategies to trick dentists into submitting sensitive information, such as credit card numbers and passwords for online accounts. Without understanding some of their strategies, it’s easy to fall victim to their scam tricks.

Check out the common bank-related text message scams dentists receive and the strategies you can use to protect yourself.

What are the Most Common Bank Scam Text Messages?

Here are common scams that most dentists face:

Overpayment scam

Overpayment scams involve receiving a fake check from a scammer who needs a refund. They’ll send you text messages that suggest you’ve received excess funds in your account. They’ll require you to deposit funds to your bank in order to send the overpayment. Unfortunately, you can end up owing your bank a check fee because of overdrawing your account and suffering severe financial losses.

Unsolicited Check Fraud

Have you unexpectedly received a check through text messages or email? The check might be an overpayment refund or a rebate check. Scammers use such strategies to lure you into a legally binding contract. Therefore, they force you to sign the check and use it to cash out.

Failing to read the check’s fine print may inadvertently authorize payments and loans. Scammers are banking on naïve dentists to cash the check after taking it as free money. Never cash a rebate or return a check that you did not request.

Automatic Withdrawal Scams

Dentists & Oral Care Professionals are now resulting in automatic withdrawals to pay bills. However, scammers are also aware of this method and will use it to access your savings. They might send you text messages or make a phone call informing you about a recent prize you won or qualification for an offer.

Scammers intend to make you read out loud the numbers at the bottom of your personal checks. With sufficient information about your bank information, scammers will put a demand draft and access your finances without your signature. 

Phishing Scams

Scammers are actively looking to access your social security number and local bank account details, and since they know that you continuously receive text messages or emails from your bank, they can send you fake texts and emails to fool you. 

The text messages and emails may appear genuine, but they contain a suspicious link demanding you click on them. Once you open the link, you may be required to enter your bank information, including your password, SSN, and other personal details. With such information, scammers can access your bank accounts and withdraw your funds.

Government Imposter Scams

A fraudster may call you claiming that they’re from the IRS. They will tell you that you need to pay taxes so they can process it. If you don’t pay what they claim to be an unpaid debt, they may threaten to put you in jail. The truth is, no government agency will ever call you and request any kind of payment.

Scammers may use names of legitimate federal institutions, such as the Federal Trade Commission, or make up their own. In either case, it’s a scam, since this isn’t a method that federal agencies employ to collect taxes from dentists.

Employment Scams

Another popular method used by scammers to access the financial accounts of dentists and oral care professionals is employment scams. Scammers will demand an upfront payment in exchange for employment. They may also ask for your bank account details so they can send you a commission payment. 

Computer Repair Scams

Is your work computer or laptop slow? Some scammers may call you claiming that your computer has a virus that needs to be removed immediately. They’ll request access or send you a link that gives them access to your computer through virtual desktop-sharing software. When they have access, they might copy your credit card information, passwords, and other sensitive information saved on your browser and desktop.

How Can I Protect Myself from Bank Scams?

The best way to protect yourself from text message scams is by taking keen measures before you give any personal information. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated and you need to be ready.

Here are a few strategies to protect yourself from bank scams:

Pay More Attention

Do not be in a rush to comply with text messages and emails purporting to be from your local banks. Read everything carefully and call your bank manager if you have to. There are visible cues that you can rely on to determine the authenticity of the information. If you receive a check through email, examine the fine print to distinguish a fake check from a genuine check.

Never Share Personal Information with Anyone Without Verification

Your personal information is all that a scammer requires to access your finances. Do not share your bank account number, personal identity, or even your social security numbers. Research the channel that your local bank uses to reach out to its clients before sending any personal information

Do not accept sharing your computer or giving access to remote sharing with someone you don’t know. They might access and download your sensitive details as they pretend to help you.

Trust Your Instincts

Don’t make decisions abruptly. When confronted with something new, take time to think and inquire about it. If something doesn’t feel right to you, do not proceed or even click a link.

Inform them you’ll have to consult someone before proceeding, then you’ll call them back. If they insist, terminate the call, and if the call comes from a known agency, visit them in person for more information. 

File a Complaint

Sometimes scammers may outshine you regardless of how careful you are with their attempts. Nevertheless, if you fall victim to scammers, report the incident to the authorities. 

Bottom Line

The best way to protect your bank information and other personal details from scammers is by keeping the information private. Although these potential scams are particular to banking, they represent only a small portion of the wider identity theft problem.

Scammers can take advantage of any opportunities to find vulnerabilities in your bank and access your bank accounts. Before they’re caught, they can overdraw a lot of money, putting a strain on your finances. Having a partner on your side can help you reduce yours of losing your finances. Contact us for more information.

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