Can you spot a phishing scam?

Online scams aren't so scary when you know what to look for.

A man wearing a scarf and denim jacket stands on a car-lined sidewalk at night as he checks his phone for messages.

Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank. And in this time of expanded use of online banking, the problem is only growing worse. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission’s report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $1.9 billion to these phishing schemes and other fraud in 2019 — and the ongoing pandemic has only increased the threat. Imagine where we are in 2020.

It’s time to put scammers in their place.

Online scams aren’t so scary when you know what to look for. That’s why we’ve joined with the American Bankers Association and banks across the country in a nationwide effort to fight phishing—one scam at a time. We want every bank customer to become a pro at spotting a phishing scam—and stop bank impostors in their tracks.

You can start with these four words:

Banks Never Ask That.

When you know what sounds suspicious, you’re less likely to be fooled. These top 3 phishing scams are full of red flags.

  1. Text Message: If you receive a text message from someone claiming to be your bank asking you to sign in, or offer up your personal information, it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.
  2. Email: Watch out for emails that ask you to click a suspicious link or provide personal information. The sender may claim to be someone from you bank, but it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.
  3. Phone call: Would your bank ever call you unexpectedly to verify your account number. No! Banks never ask that. If you’re ever in doubt that the caller is legitimate, just hang up and call the bank directly at a number you trust.

You’ve probably seen some of these scams before. But that doesn’t stop a scammer from trying. In fact, you may have already read our articles Outsmart the Scammers and Stay Alert for Coronavirus Scams. But for more tips on how to keep phishing criminals at bay, including videos, an interactive quiz and more, visit, and share the webpage with your friends and family.

Also, please remember:

People's United Bank will never make or send unsolicited calls, texts or emails asking customers to provide, verify, or update passwords, usernames, debit/ATM card PINs, security codes, or account information such as Social Security number, account number, card number, or other personal information.

This article has been adapted from the American Bankers Association #BanksNeverAskThat scam awareness campaign.

AlwaysChecking digital identity protection from People's United Bank

At People’s United Bank, we’re committed to your security. That's why we offer FREE AlwaysChecking digital identity protection with all personal checking accounts. Give yourself the peace of mind that comes with having your and your family's most important assets continuously monitored - your personal, financial and digital information.

More resources

People's United Bank is proud to collaborate with the AARP Fraud Watch Network to give consumers of all ages access to resources and information to fight identity theft and fraud.

AARP Fraud Prevention Partnership

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended for use as legal, accounting, tax or professional financial advice by People’s United Bank or any of the bank’s subsidiaries. Always consult your legal, accounting and/or tax advisor to fully understand how information may or may not apply to your personal or business financial situation.

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