Bureau warns consumers of email scams involving financial institutions

In a release issued this week to your League, the Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions issued a warning about scammers posing as financial institutions to obtain consumers' sensitive banking information.  The scammers typically send email messages that appear to be from the consumer's financial institution, claiming that the credit union or bank is updating its online banking platform and that the consumer needs to provide verification of account information, the bureau said.

The scammers ask that the consumer click through links in the email, which direct the user to a site asking for sensitive account information. According to the bureau, the messages often threaten immediate suspension of the consumer's access to online banking services unless the account information is provided.

Customers of several banks and credit union members in Maine have received emails related to the scam, the bureau said, and anyone with an email account is a potential target.

Bureau Superintendent Lloyd LaFountain III said consumers should never disclose bank or credit union account numbers or other personal information by email, text or phone.  "Banks and credit unions will not email, text or call customers asking them to divulge account numbers, PINs or Social Security numbers," he said.

LaFountain said anyone who receives unexpected emails regarding online banking updates should call his or her bank or credit union directly and talk to an employee.

Jon Paradise, Vice President of Public Affairs and Engagement, said, "Maine CUs are encouraged to warn members of the potential scam, and offer tips to help their members avoid being a victim.  Being proactive and offering information to assist consumers is consistent with CU focus."