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A New Fake Bank Website Pops Up - Verifying a Bank Website Address


The fake bank scammers are still at it. This morning I came across a Google Ad with the title “12 month CD 3.40% APY | No penalty. FDIC insured | Minimums apply”. The ad pointed to a new fake bank website with many similarities to the fake bank websites I described last week.

As DA readers can tell from the ad, a no-penalty 12-month CD with a 3.40% APY is very suspicious. Even without the no-penalty feature, that would be a very high rate. The best real no-penalty CD that is currently available from a real bank is the 13-month No-Penalty CD (2.60% APY) from PurePoint Financial.

Google Ad for fraudulent bank website

The scammers have become a little more sophisticated with their websites. This one has a new domain name. I did a whois lookup, and it showed a private domain registration which shows no identifying information. The domain name was registered on March 13, 2019. You wouldn’t expect a real bank to have a private domain name registration and a registration that’s less than a month old.

The new fake bank website looks a little more slick. Instead of making up a non-existent bank name, the website claimed to be “A division of Midwest BankCentre.” Does this look familiar? That’s the same line used by RisingBank.com, the legitimate online-only division of Midwest BankCentre. Unfortunately, this makes it more difficult for visitors to validate the legitimacy of the website.

I called the FDIC again to report this new fake bank website, but unlike the last time, I was not able to receive a confirmation from the FDIC that this was a fraudulent website. Since the website stated that it was a division of a member FDIC bank, the FDIC call representative said that I should call that bank and ask them if this website is under their control. Fortunately, that’s easy for me. For the average Joe, that can be a time consuming step. The FDIC BankFind tool has a new feature to help verify legitimate bank website addresses, but that has some issues as I will explain later.

After being unable to receive confirmation from the FDIC about this site being fraudulent, I did what the FDIC call representative instructed: I called the bank that the fake bank claimed to be a division of. That was Midwest BankCentre. The customer service representative (CSR) who took my call was able to confirm that the website had no connection with them. She was going to send my information to their security department so that they can take steps to ensure this fake website is taken down before any money is stolen. I also used this Google Ad complaint form to alert Google of the fraud.

Verifying the legitimacy of a bank website

As I mentioned above, the FDIC has an online tool to help with this. It’s called BankFind, and the tool now allows you to enter a website address to verify if it belongs to a member FDIC institution. The tool can verify the vast majority of valid bank websites. However, it can’t verify all bank website addresses.

The FDIC BankFind tool was improved in 2017 to handle multiple bank website addresses. Some banks have more than one website address so they can separate an online-only division with the brick-and-mortar division. In fact, a few banks actually have multiple online-only websites. Also, multiple websites can exist when divisions operate under different brand names. Lastly, a bank may partner with a company that manages deposit accounts. Below are examples of these three different cases.

Example of a bank maintaining multiple online-only bank websites:

Emigrant Bank’s primary website: www.emigrant.com

Emigrant Bank’s secondary websites:

  • www.emigrantdirect.com
  • www.dollarsavingsdirect.com
  • www.mysavingsdirect.com

Example of a bank partnering with multiple companies, each having their own deposit accepting website:

Compass Bank’s primary website: www.bbvacompass.com

Compass Bank’s partner websites that accept deposits

  • www.simple.com
  • www.azlo.com
  • www.denizen.io
  • www.digit.co

Example of a bank operating two websites under two different brand names:

Chemung Canal Trust Company’s primary website: www.chemungcanal.com

Chemung Canal Trust Company’s division with a different brand name and website:

  • www.capitalbank.com

What cannot be verified with the FDIC BankFind

The first issue with BankFind is that it depends on the bank providing the FDIC all of the website addresses that it uses to accept deposits. There are several banks with multiple websites that have not provided the FDIC their website addresses. Also, it takes time before a new bank website is included in the FDIC database. For example, as of April 3, 2019, RisingBank.com still has no matches in the FDIC BankFind. RisingBank.com is the legitimate online-only bank of Midwest BankCentre. We at DA confirmed this with Midwest BankCentre before we created a RisingBank.com summary page.

The second issue with BankFind is that it only applies to member FDIC institutions. It does not have any information on credit unions or brokerages. Information on most credit union website addresses is available at the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the FDIC equivalent for credit unions. I will have more information on verifying the website addresses of credit unions and brokerages in a future blog post.

Resources to verify a bank or credit union website address:

  • Verify bank website addresses using the FDIC BankFind tool
  • If you can’t find a bank website address, call the FDIC at 877-ASKFDIC (877-275-3342)
  • Verify a federally-insured credit union website using the NCUA research a credit union tool
  • If you can’t find a credit union website address, call the NCUA at 800-755-1030
Comments
QED
QED   |     |   Comment #1
These internet scammers need to be took out behind the shed and horse whipped to within an inch of their lives. Course that's not gonna happen. The way illegality is encouraged and supported today in America the scammers are more likely to be handed awards.
deplorable 1
deplorable 1   |     |   Comment #2
"Also, it takes time before a new bank website is included in the FDIC database" Yes and this time is what these scammers are using to their advantage. I love how the add says "EASY MONEY" one of my all time favorite movies. Sure it's easy money alright ...........for them!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7kklmGWLDk
Newbie1
Newbie1   |     |   Comment #5
Thank you Ken.
Cautious
Cautious   |     |   Comment #6
I received a call today informing me that my Apple account was breached. I suppose I should have an Apple account before someone can breach it. Last week someone called me to "verify" some information. When I told him that I didn't know him and that I am not going to verify anything he immediately hung up on me. Now it's banks! I wish the government would track down these people and give them the stiffest penalties. As a side note, do you get as many junk calls as me? Do you know who gave them my number? The government. Scammers hit the gold mine when the government gave them a list of "Do Not Call" phone numbers. Now the scammers know that they have legitimate phone numbers, all compliments of Uncle Sam. It's sad, very, very sad.
AnnO
AnnO   |     |   Comment #10
No, most illicit phone calls come from using computer programs to dial every possible phone number in their target area codes. Nobody has to "give" your number to them, they just make up numbers until one works. If you are responsive (often answering the calls and talking), they will call back more often and potentially resell your now-validated number to other spammers.
deplorable 1
deplorable 1   |     |   Comment #11
I have been on the "do not call" list forever and when I first signed up the unwanted calls dropped dramatically. Now days it seems like all the unwanted calls are from robo-dialers which is why I use caller I.D. and screen all calls. If a call comes in and I don't know who it's from I don't answer it period. This is why I hate the call back option from banks and credit unions. I still know people who answer all calls and then get upset when 90% of them are from telemarketers.
larry
larry   |     |   Comment #13
d1 (Comment #11) We do the same exact thing. Luckily our service provider does a good job at bouncing robo-dialers with one ring and then bye bye. The latest ones start with a V followed by 14 numbers which are spammers, followed by the spoofers and not far behind Google Voice numbers.
Bass
Bass   |     |   Comment #25
My favorite trick is to answer the call but don't say anything. It waste their time and they have to say something. if they are legitimate, they will identify themselves. If not hang up. Trust me, they don't call again to listen to dead air. They mark it as a bad connection.
anon
anon   |     |   Comment #21
We were getting lots of spam calls as well, and I signed up for a free service called nomorobo. It's free and blocks most of the spam calls and you can also add calls to their spam list
Love2BPhished
Love2BPhished   |     |   Comment #22
And I signed up on an even more secure site called gonephishin. All they need from you is your full name, your SS number, your mother's maiden name, your father's maiden name, you maiden's maiden name, your .........
willy12
willy12   |     |   Comment #24
Found this from consumer reports on nomorerobo.

https://www.consumerreports.org/consumerist/phone-companies-can-filter-out-robocalls-they-just-arent-doing-it/

I have not signed up for it but I have found that many of my scam calls in the last year or so are coming from spoofed numbers often in my own area code probably to get around the services that block specific numbers.

Although I have not had many calls in a month or so, for awhile there I was unplugging my phone. Legit calls can leave a message and I will get an email and I'm not bothered by scammers.
Anon
Anon   |     |   Comment #7
Wow, this is incredibly dangerous. Has anyone actually called them for their application? I wonder how it plays out from there.
Losingtrader
Losingtrader   |     |   Comment #19
Yes. They didn't send it
Anon
Anon   |     |   Comment #8
Looks like they also use the name Universal Federal Bank, A Division of MidWest BankCentre. The website federalbankcentre.com can't be reached, but google search found this when I searched on 866-740-5001.
HZ
HZ   |     |   Comment #9
This was so informative. Thank you very much
Ratesaver
Ratesaver   |     |   Comment #12
This news is good to know, I actually had an experience with a banking site situation that I thought at that time maybe crazy that this would happen however now I will be more careful that Ken has brought this to our attention... Thank Ken for all you have done.
 Fake Banks
Fake Banks   |     |   Comment #14
I'm just sticking with Ken's post...They' e been vetted....Don't need that headache.
DCGuy
DCGuy   |     |   Comment #15
Best thing to do is to type in the IP address directly. That would eliminate spoofing. Go back to binary programming (on/off).
losingtrader
losingtrader   |     |   Comment #17
Their fake rates aren't even that good.
Anon
Anon   |     |   Comment #18
Unbelievable as of 4/5 this website still hasn't been taken down. You would think Midwest Bankcentre would be anxious to protect their reputation. What good is the FDIC if they don't protect consumers against fraudulent claims of being an FDIC member?
Losingtrader
Losingtrader   |     |   Comment #20
My antivirus is saying it's a phishing site
willy12
willy12   |     |   Comment #23
I don't recall ever seeing a legit bank use dollar amount at redemption examples like the scammers one does.
Chief
Chief   |     |   Comment #26
Hey Ken....Can you provide a list of all phony credit Union and Bank websites you have discovered. Read your blog everyday...love it!

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