Maine’s Bureau of Financial Institutions issued a warning Monday 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 bank or credit union 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 unions 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. Financial institution employees will be able to inform the consumer if the bank or credit union is currently updating its online banking system, he said. The superintendent also noted that customers should always be vigilant to protect their personal information and monitor account statements.

Consumers who suspect they have received a scam email should not click through any links in the email, LaFountain said. Clicking the link itself may expose the consumer’s personal information to scammers and harmful software.

Mainers should be on the lookout for suspicious links in emails that appear to come from financial institutions, the bureau said. Check the “From” header in any email received – if the name of the email’s sender does not match the sender’s email address, it is a sign of a potential scam attempt.

Another way to check suspicious links is to hover the cursor over the link without clicking the link itself, the bureau said. By doing so, the address for the link will appear on the consumer’s screen. If the link address shown on the screen is different from what the email says, it’s a sign of a potential scam.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

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