How to Spot and Avoid the Bank Insider Scam


A Southeastern Indiana elderly couple recently fell victim to a sophisticated scam, losing $40,000. Here's how the scam unfolded and how you can protect yourself from similar threats.

The Financial Institution Insider Scam: A Real-Life Example

It all began when the husband received a pop-up on his computer, urging him to call the Microsoft Security Team. Unable to access his computer, he dialed the number provided. On the other end was a man named Jason, who soon handed the call over to an alleged investigator named Michael. This so-called investigator claimed there was an insider under investigation at Friendship State Bank.

To make the scam believable, Michael rattled off the name of a lender from the Bank’s website. The customer verified this information online, which unfortunately lent credibility to the scam. Following Michael's instructions, the couple visited their local branch to withdraw their cash "for safekeeping."

Michael insisted the couple keep the phone call active, hidden in the wife’s purse, during the transaction. He even provided a cover story for the large withdrawal—purchasing a tractor.
The scammer directed the couple to place the money in a sealed envelope and hand it over to an “FBI courier” who would meet them in their driveway. The couple was instructed to ask for the password "black cat" before giving the cash and a copy of their ID to the courier.

Tragically, the scammer’s elaborate ruse succeeded, and the couple lost $40,000.

Key Red Flags to Watch For

  • Unsolicited pop-ups urging you to call a number for security reasons.
  • Callers claiming to be investigators with urgent, secret instructions.
  • Instructions to keep phone calls hidden or provide cover stories for transactions.
  • Requests to hand over cash and personal information to unknown individuals.

Tips to Protect Yourself

  1. Be Skeptical of Pop-Ups: Legitimate companies like Microsoft will never ask you to call them via a pop-up message.
  2. Verify Independently: If you receive a suspicious call, verify the information through official channels before taking any action.
  3. Question Unusual Instructions: Be wary of anyone who asks you to keep a phone call secret or gives you a strange cover story for financial transactions.
  4. Never Share Personal Information: Do not share personal information or ID copies with unknown individuals.
  5. Consult Your Financial Institution: If something feels off, consult your financial institution directly using known contact information before proceeding.

Stay Calm and Think Critically

Scammers often try to get you flustered to shut down the logical part of your brain, pushing you into survival mode.
This makes it harder to stay calm and evaluate the bigger picture.

Take a moment to breathe and think critically about the situation before acting. Don’t let fear or urgency cloud your judgment.


By staying alert and informed, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these deceitful schemes. If you ever find yourself in a suspicious situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to your financial institution for assistance. Together, we can help prevent these heartbreaking losses and safeguard our community from fraud. Stay alert and stay safe.

If you found this information helpful, please share this post with your friends and family. For more tips on staying safe from scams, visit the Coin and Coffee Blog - Outsmarting Scammers or contact us directly.