Consumers receiving unemployment benefits on a Bank of America Corp. prepaid debit card in California are alerting state officials about a telephone phishing scam intended to elicit personal information.
Several card users in California told the San Francisco Chronicle they received a an automated phone call warning them their card from the Employment Development Department had been temporarily blocked, and it instructed them to press 1 on their phones to be transferred to a security department. The consumers the Chronicle spoke with did not proceed to the next step because they listened to the message through voicemail.
B of A said there is no evidence scammers specifically targeted the prepaid card accounts or compromised data.
"Our customer service centers have received calls in recent weeks related to this phishing situation, but Bank of America does not make outbound calls to cardholders," a bank representative wrote in an email. Additionally, BofA does not have contact information for consumers using California's prepaid card, the representative said.
California's employment department told the Chronicle there is no evidence its records were compromised and attributed the calls to random robocalls.
"Given that over 1.4 million people in California have been issued [our] cards, scammers making random robocalls to households in California are as likely to use [the department] or BofA in their phishing efforts as they are any other institution," a department representative told the Chronicle.
A department representative was not immediately available to provide additional comment.
The American Bankers Association recently alerted consumers about an increase in phishing scams such as the one happening in California. The association warned consumers about a spike in fraudulent activity involving robocalls, text messages and emails.
Scammers usually alert cardholders their accounts had been temporarily blocked, the association said in a press release. Consumers are then prompted to enter in their card information, including the account number, expiration date and three-digit card verification value/card validation code on the back of the card to reactivate their accounts. Once the crooks have that information they can create counterfeit cards.