This one’s worth the time to post here. BB&T customers are getting scam emails from unknown or fake addresses asking them to call a certain telephone number because their accounts “may” have been compromised due to “fraudulent activity,” and until you call in and verify certain information your account will be put on “limited hold.”

An actual call to BB&T verifies this is a scam email, using mock BB&T logos and official sounding language to prey on your fears that something might have happened to your account, you need to check with the people at the number in the email immediately, or  you will have a “temporary hold” placed on your account until the matter is resolved. Yet there are some people who will be taken in by this because they will read the email, see the BB&T logo, and never bother to check the source of the email to see if it’s real or a scam.  Here’s how to avoid getting taken by the fraudsters working the BB&T angle if you receive one of those emails.

1. Check the info of the sender for the email. If it’s not a BB&T email account, it’s likely something’s up.
2. Call customer service on the back of your BB&T Debit or Credit card, or go to BB&T’s website. Let them know you’ve gotten an email that looks like it’s from them but doesn’t appear to be a BB&T email. Be nice and let the people on the other end of the line know you want to make sure there’s no problems with the account.
3. If BB&T verifies you’re in the clear, change your user name and password just to be safe.

4. Bonus step: If you’ve got the email address in front of you, offer BB&T that address so they can track the sender and figure out who’s sending the bogus emails.

People get taken by phishing scams all the time. They exploit the mark’s trust, using symbols of authority, tapping into the public conscious through vulnerability, and hit people with language that sounds official (i.e. “temporary hold.”) Don’t let yourself get pulled for a sucker. Think before your reflexively dial the number in the email, question whether there’s anything wrong at all, and then act.

In the future as I see more of this happen expect MiD to host more alerts of scams and fraud opportunities as I find them. I plan on doing this as I am proud of the work I do when I go out in public and perform as a card cheat, theatrical pickpocket, hypnotist.  When I work, though, it’s a form of social contract. What I do is entertainment, and if I steal something during a gig you’re going to get it back.  I cannot stand a scammer, thief, or cheat who exploits the needy, so consider this notice to all who would violate those norms.

If you violate the Hustler’s Rules of Ethics, you own a spot as a scam artist in my book, and deserve exposure.

Here are those rules, with a nod to the king of the Cheats, Daniel Madison:
1. Never cheat an honest man (this one will get you here faster than any other violation)
2. Don’t take more than they can afford (a close second to #1 getting you my attention)

3. Palms are for Aces, not handshakes

4. The Court Cards are your best friends

5. Don’t get caught.

Stay tuned. Mediation is Dead, but exposing scammers is alive and well here.