Here’s one from the vault: I used to regularly receive emails with the ominous subject line “ACH transfer rejected”:
Transaction ID: 2010xxxxxxxxxx
Rejection Reason: See details in the report below
Transaction Report: report_20102828938591.pdf.exe (self-extracting archive, Adobe PDF)
13450 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 100 Herndon, VA 20171 (703) 561-1100
2011 NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association
Nw, my first indications that these emails might not be completely legit were the default font (it showed up in Times New Roman) and an email address showing up in the Sender’s name field (as opposed to the name of a person or department). Another indication was the double file extension on the transaction report (.pdf.exe).
I decided to do a little research. First, my bank account had no activity at all for the previous three days, and in fact no payment had been initiated or rejected. I was safe. But wait… what is this “NACHA”, and why haven’t I ever heard of this ELECTRONIC PAYMENTS ASSOCIATION?
NACHA is in fact a real association responsible for maintaining backbone of the ACH network. You’ve seen this initialism on your bank statement if you’ve ever used your debit card anywhere. It stands for “Automated Clearing House”, where banks get together and settle their balances with each other. However, NACHA will not send you an email in the event of a transaction failure because NACHA doesn’t handle individual ACH transactions at all (that’s your bank’s job). A warning regarding this phishing scam was posted on the NACHA site as early as February of 2010.
So to be safe, never click a link in an email if you don’t know or don’t trust the sender – especially if the email has anything to do with your identity, money or passwords. And if you receive an email from NACHA notifying you of a canceled or rejected transaction, just delete it and share this info with your friends!