Financial information

Officials warn of new phishing scam for banking information – WPXI

PITTSBURGH – Scammers are changing the way they try to steal your banking information.

Officials say that even if it looks real, contact the bank before doing anything else.

Two local women say they nearly fell victim to fake messages from the Huntington Bank and the PNC.

“I was almost fooled. Normally I can spot them right away, especially when I get a text from a bank I’m not banked with. I feel like it’s a scam,” Erin Plavecsky said.

“It looked very official and I think anytime your account is locked people are busy. I think we live in a society where we’re just going to click on something and take it away, don’t we? right?” said Molly Sinclair.

Plavecsky and Sinclair say they both almost clicked on the links in the posts because they do business with both banks.

Sinclair says she’s been getting similar messages for weeks.

Both women told Channel 11 they had contacted their bank to make sure the text messages were real.

“So I contacted PNC, their scam service or whatever. ‘Hey, is this from you guys?’ They said no. They confirmed what I thought,” Plavecsy said.

“It looked very official with another link that I didn’t click on. But when I went to that bank’s website, the first thing on the page was a scam alert,” Sinclair said.

According to the FBI website, this type of phishing scam is called smishing because it involves a text message. Authorities say that once you click on the link, it might take you to a website that looks real, and then you’ll be asked to enter your details like bank passwords and credit card numbers. These fake websites are then used to steal your identity.

Huntington Bank spoke to Channel 11 about a nationwide campaign called #BanksNeverAskThat which warns the public of scam red flags.

Huntington Bank has also provided the following resources to educate the community about scammers:

Resources from the Federal Communications Commission:

  • Learn more here
  • Excerpt: “Identity spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID screen to conceal their identity. Scammers often use neighbor spoofing, so it looks like an incoming call is from a local number, or is spoofing a number from a business or government agency you may already know and trust.

FBI resources:

Huntington Resources and Education:

Huntington provides client and community outreach services to educate and raise awareness on how to protect yourself. Prevention is essential.

**Reminder: Huntington WILL NEVER BE ask you for account numbers or passwords by phone, email or text.**If you receive a suspicious email, text or call claiming to be from Huntington, hang up and call us at (800) 480-2265.

PNC has given Channel 11 similar ways to detect whether you are being scammed or not:

Traffic signs

Text messages and emails containing certain red flags should alert users to a possible phishing or SMiShing attack, including:

  • spelling mistakes
  • Grammatical errors
  • Offer fantastic prizes
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Request personally identifiable information (PII)
  • Requesting user IDs and passwords
  • Threaten with consequences
  • make requests

Take action

If you receive a suspicious text, take precautions to avoid phishing:

  • Do not respond to suspicious text messages; first confirm that it is from a reputable source.
  • Do not click on suspicious phishing links.
  • Do not respond to text messages requesting personal or financial information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, or other banking information.
  • Do not call a suspected phishing phone number. Go directly to a known source of information for contact information, such as the company’s legitimate website.

Action to help protect accounts

If you suspect your personal information may have been exposed, follow these important steps, then be on high alert for any signs of spoofing and phishing.

  • Review your financial statements and transactions online. If you notice any unauthorized activity on your account, contact us immediately at 888-PNC-Bank (888-762-2265) or visit your local branch. PNC customers will not be held responsible for verified unauthorized activities that are promptly reported.
  • Check your credit report. You can request a free copy of your three credit reports from each of the three credit reporting agencies once every 12 months at Consider spreading out your reviews, checking a report every four months. Make sure all information on your report is accurate. In case of suspicious activity, contact the credit reporting agency.
  • Place a 90-day credit alert on your file. This means agencies will contact you whenever someone tries to get credit on your behalf. There is no charge, but it must be renewed every 90 days. Contact one of the three credit reporting agencies who will then contact the other two.
  • Consider a security freeze on your credit to block inquiries. As of September 21, 2018, there is no charge for adding a security/credit freeze to your account that restricts access to your credit report. However, this restriction applies to both scammers and you. So remember, when you apply for credit, you’ll need to ask the agency to temporarily lift the freeze so the creditor can access your credit report.
  • Add PNC alerts to your accounts. Monitor your account by setting up free PNC alerts to be notified by email or SMS[1] message regarding key activity on your PNC accounts, including:
  1. Receive notification of your sales and important activities.
  2. Know when your direct deposit has arrived.
  3. Receive faster notification when overdrafts have occurred.
  4. Monitor your card transactions such as online, telephone or international purchases.