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Phishing & Other Scams


What is Phishing?

Phishing (pronounced "fishing") is defined as unsolicited e-mails or phone calls from someone impersonating a trusted institution, such as a bank, government agency, or the Better Business Bureau. Phishing can come in the form of spam e-mail or pop-up messages to deceive you into disclosing your bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information. People are directed to Web pages that look nearly identical to the site of the company the phisher is trying to imitate.

Security Notice

Bank of Central Florida will never ask you to identify yourself in an e-mail, request your Personal Identification Number (PIN), password or login information, or ask you to verify any account information via unsecured e-mail.

Under no circumstances should you ever access Bank of Central Florida's website from a link provided in an e-mail.Only access Bank of Central Florida's website by typing in into your browser's address bar or by following a shortcut or bookmark that you have created. If you receive a "phishing" e-mail that appears to be from Bank of Central Florida, please forward it to or your bank representative so that the Bank can take proper action.

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What Are Some Tips to Avoid Getting Hooked?

Uses an Incorrect URL

To ensure you are on a legitimate site, always double check that the website address is accurate and look for https:// and a closed padlock icon before inputting any personal information.

Asks for Banking Information

Be wary of any e-mails or websites that ask for sensitive information, as banks will not do that via email, and never click on links or attachments in messages.

Sense of Urgency

The e-mail urges you to act quickly or your account may be suspended or closed. Bank of Central Florida DOES NOT initiate e-mails seeking personal information.

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What If I Am a Victim of Phishing?

If you suspect that you have been a victim of identity theft or fraud from a phishing incident, take the following steps:

  1. Contact the Bank. If the phishing e-mail appeared to be from Bank of Central Florida and/or another financial institution, please contact the company immediately and save all details of the "phishing" message to forward.
  2. Report Identity Theft. Follow the steps outlined in the Identity Theft section of our website if you believe you are a victim of identity theft.
  3. Computer Check. Have your computer checked for spyware or viruses and ensure you are using anti-phishing technologies that can help keep your information protected.
  4. Additional Advice. Further information can be located at the Federal Trade Commission -

    Anti-Phishing Working Group -

    Phishing emails can be reported to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team -, at .

    You can also forward spam that is phishing for information to .

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What is Smishing?

With "smishing," instead of a scam e-mail, a bogus text message is received. This is the latest twist on stealing your identity. You may get a text message (or an automated voicemail scam called "vishing") stating that your account has been suspended (or debit/credit card blocked) and asking you to call a 1-800 number where your account number, PIN, and other data may be requested. Do not respond until you verify the legitimacy of the message by contacting your financial institution directly using phone numbers you are certain about, such as the customer service number on your statement or on the back of your credit card.

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Largest Scams of 2022

Real Estate and Investment Scams

These scams revolve around promises of low risk and easy ways to make money quickly. These are usually done by investing in financial or real estate markets that do not return what the scammer promised, if anything at all. These types of scams also typically include some sort of seminar with hefty fees to learn their "proven" tricks.

There was a reported loss of $3.8 billion in 2022 due to Real Estate and Investment scams.1

Learn more about these types of scams here.

Impersonator Scams

As the name suggests, this is when a scammer pretends to be someone they are not. This can be ranged from someone you know personally such as your family, friends, coworkers, etc.; but it can also come from impersonal connections such as a government office, police collections, etc.

There was a reported loss of $660 million in 2022 due to impersonation scams.1

Learn more about these scams here.


Cryptocurrency is a new and confusing digital currency, that only exists electronically. Bitcoin and Ether are two of the most well-known coin, but there are hundreds of new ones created daily. Scams involving crypto is similar to regular money scams, with promises of earning big returns. Unlike regular currency, Cryptocurrency is not backed by the government, is typically not payment reversible, and has values that change constantly, so you may be led into investing big into a new coin, bringing the value up, only for a major holder to pull all their coin, decimating the value.

There was a reported loss of $1.4 billion in 2022 due to impersonation scams.1

Read more about Cryptocurrency scams here.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI has been a rapidly growing, and we're seeing scams trending using advanced AI, in the form of audio and video "deepfakes" to copy voices of friends and family. The scammer will make these calls and videos realistic by taking personal information from social media to try and sound real.

Some stories include "family members" (the scammer) who are calling from jail needing bail money. They request people to bring the money quickly to a location, or that "someone from the county" will come to retrieve the money. This is a scam, and the best way to verify this is to get in contact with the person directly or with someone close by them (i.e. another household member or friend) to verify the situation.

Social Media

Social media scams can involve getting access to your account by sending you a link pretending to show you something, only for you to need to "re-sign in" to view it, where they steal your login information in order to either post links to a scam site pretending to be you, or spreading the virus to other accounts. Social media scams also involve other common practices, such as signing up for services, buying products, etc. Be mindful whenever you click a link or ad online.

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Other Fraud-Related Sources

The following is a list of links that may provide additional information on common fraud schemes:

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

This source provides different common fraud & scams you may encounter.

FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center

This source will bring you to where you can file a complaint or report to the FBI for internet related crimes and fraud.

Consumer Federation of America

This source provides video examples and tips of common fraud and scams people can encounter.