Common Fraud Scams

Common Fraud Scams

PlainsCapital Bank values our customers and wants to provide you information regarding known fraud scams to better assist you in not being a victim of these scams.

CEO Email Fraud or Business Email Compromise (one of the fastest growing fraud scams)

Cybercriminals trick company employees into transferring large sums of money to them by impersonating CEOs and other company executives in spoofed or masqueraded emails. The FBI has issued alerts on this type of fraud and has advised that businesses have been affected in all 50 states. How does it work? The schemers first study their intended victims by using the company’s website, social media and Phishing to get information like employees’ names, job titles, email addresses and phone numbers. With the company’s information, scammers can spoof or fake an email to an employee who they know can transfer money or pay invoices for the company, making the email look like it is coming from an executive officer or other trusted source. Once the money is wired, it can be very difficult – if not impossible – to recover. For more information on this fraud and examples of the scams, visit the Business Email Compromise page on the PlainsCapital Bank Fraud site.

Corporate Account Takeover

Account Takeover is a form of identity theft in which criminals steal your valid online banking credentials. In most cases the fraudsters introduce malware into your computer system which may go undetected for weeks or months. This malware can be introduced into your computer via email attachments or websites you visit that have been infected. Account-draining transfers using the stolen credentials are then conducted. These transfers could be checks or wire transfers. It is very important that you have layered security measures to detect fraud on your account and that you monitor your bank accounts for unauthorized activity.

Job Scams: “Work from Home”

The opportunity to work from home is becoming a very popular and an attractive option for many. As the interest increases, so do the opportunities to be conned with jobs that pay “big financial rewards.” Although there are many legitimate work-from-home jobs, these schemes do not guarantee a regular salary and almost always requires an “up-front” investment.  In a lot of cases the person applying for the job never meets with the employer in person – everything is done via the internet.  After the person takes the job they are sent a check or wire into their personal checking account. They are asked to wire funds to another person or to withdraw cash or obtain a cashier’s check and send to someone besides the employer. If the funds into the account are check, they normally charge back as “Counterfeit”, which leaves the account holder out the amount they have wired to the other person. Always remember, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Romance Scam

During a romance scam, the victim is courted online for some time before the scam starts. This gives the victim a sense that they know the person with whom he or she is dealing. This scam is almost always via the internet, either on Facebook or through a dating site. At first, the criminal is very interested in the victim and will make many promises. After a period of time, they will ask the victim for help, either due to an illness, accident, job loss, family emergency, or their bank accounts have been frozen for some unknown reason. They will then ask the victim for money. Once a small amount is sent they will ask for larger amounts and become very demanding. The criminal will also have the victim send funds to an unknown person or receive funds from this unknown person so they can be wired to the scammer. In many cases, the victim will think they are engaged to the suspect. In all cases the victim has NEVER met the suspect in person and has only participated in phone, text, or internet conversations. There could be an exchange of pictures with the suspect but there is no way to know that is really whom the victim is communicating with. These criminals are normally located outside of the country and there is no way to recover the money that is lost.

Selling Goods Scam, a.k.a. Craigslist Scam

In this scam the victim may be selling goods in a marketplace, over the internet or through a trade site (Local newspaper, Craigslist, EBay, etc.). The buyer will send a cashier’s check for the goods, but the amount will be incorrect, normally for a much larger amount then the goods were sold for. The victim will be asked to deposit the check and then wire the extra funds back to the buyer. In some cases the seller is advised to keep a small amount for the trouble of having to send the funds back. After the victim wires out the funds, the deposited check will charge back as fraud. The victim is out the amount that was wired out and will never receive back the merchandise the criminal “purchased” from them. It is always a good practice to never withdraw funds from a deposit until the check deposited has had time to clear the issuing bank.  This could take several days depending on where the issuing bank is located.

Mystery Shopper Scam

The Mystery Shopper scam is similar to the “Work from Home” scam.  The victim is approached to earn money for little to no work. They receive a letter and check in the mail asking them to deposit the check, withdraw cash, and then shop at the merchant stated in the letter. One of the merchants will be a money service business (Western Union, Money Gram, or similar business) and the victim will be directed to wire funds out, then report on the service they received while conducting the wire. As with other scams, the victim is advised to keep a small amount of the funds as well as the items they purchased. However, the check deposited charges back as fraud and the victim is out the funds. 

Card Cracking

Card Cracking is the fastest crime targeting millennials, although persons as young as high school students have been recruited for this fraud. This scam begins with a criminal posting on Facebook or another social media site, asking if someone would like to make easy money. The victim is advised to open a bank account (if they don’t already have one) and then give the scammer the debit card for the account. The scammer will then make fraudulent deposits into the victim’s account and withdraw funds via the ATM. The account holder is advised they will get to keep some of the cash from the deposits and they are to claim their card was lost or stolen. The scammer tells the account holder there is nothing the bank can do to them as they did not make the fraudulent deposit – which is untrue! The account holder has just committed a crime by knowingly allowing their account to be used for fraud and benefiting from the activity. To read more on Card Cracking visit


Skimming is a common method used by fraudsters to obtain credit card or debit card information. The “skimmer” device is a small tool with a mag-stripe reader that stores card information. Generally the card is swiped through the skimmer when making an ATM withdrawal or a purchase at a location where the consumer inserts their card into a machine (like a gas station pump) for payment. A skimmer can also be hand-held and used where a consumer provides their card but does not view the transaction being processed (such as a restaurant). The information obtained is used to create a counterfeit card or is sold to other fraudsters. For more information on skimming, visit

Phishing (pronounced “fishing”)

This type of scam is a criminal activity that uses fraudulent techniques to trick you into providing personal information. These techniques include the use of fake emails, phone calls, and/or websites posing as legitimate and trusted organizations to fool you into divulging personal financial information that is then used to commit identity theft or other types of fraud.  These fake websites could look like your bank’s website and will then ask you to give your username, password, account number, personal identification number (PIN), Social Security number, or other personal information.


This scam is used in the same manner as Phishing; however, the contact is made by text messages instead of an email or phone. The victim is asked to provide their personal information.

  • PlainsCapital Bank will not send emails or text messages to our customers with links to our website that would request your personal information as noted above.