With modern technology, fraudsters can do amazing things – like pretend to be a reputable financial institution.
That means the call, email or text message that seems to be from your bank may actually be from a fraudster. We call it spoofing. And scammers are only getting started.
Look for red flags:
Example 1: You receive an email or text message that contains an unfamiliar link and a request to act urgently to resolve an issue. But clicking on it may install malware on your device, providing bad actors with access to information they should not have. Don’t follow the link. Instead, contact your bank directly about any potential problems. If you don’t know who to contact, go to your bank’s website to find the phone number to call for help with a problem.
Example 2: A fraudster may say the matter is urgent and they need to verify things in a hurry, asking you for the username and password you use to log in to online banking.
Just remember: #BanksNeverAskThat.
Example 3: A fraudster may ask you to enter and perhaps even dial a series of numbers on your cellphone –actions that enable the fraudster to have calls to your phone forwarded to another phone number. Again, urgency is often stressed, perhaps to divert any questions about why these actions must be taken, as they are trying take advantage of the chaos of their creation.
By gaining trust, then using diversion and confusion, the fraudster can take over in mere minutes. Hence, a call forwarding scam – the fraudster has your online banking username and password, and the calls to your phone have been forwarded to the fraudster’s phone. The fraudster can now log in to online banking to schedule wires and ACH credits from your bank accounts, and then receive any calls your bank may make to your phone to confirm those transfers
If you’ve provided information or taken actions in response to a suspected fraudster, call your bank immediately. The sooner you notify your bank, the better chance you have to prevent further damage.
“Remember, you are your best line of defense,” said Jeff Taylor, head of Commercial Fraud Forensics at Regions Bank.
Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with these tips to avoid becoming the next victim of call forwarding scams:
Simple Tips to Keep Safe From Call Forwarding Scams
Use passwords that are strong and secure:
- Long and memorable
- Don’t contain personally identifiable information. Scammers do their homework, often scouring social media accounts for important names, dates and identity markers.
- Not easily guessed
- Don’t use the same password on multiple websites. This is especially important for Regions and other financial account passwords.
- Make sure no one else can see or access your password.
- Routinely change your passwords. You can set a calendar reminder to help remember and use a password manager to help save them.
- Change your password immediately if you are alerted to a potential data breach.
Protect your passwords and your phone
- Don’t give your online banking username and password to anyone unless you intend to allow them to make transfers from your accounts.
- Don’t enter/dial any numbers or make any changes to your phone based on instructions from someone who contacts you about problems with your bank account.
Call Your Bank Directly
- Take the time now to enter the best number for your bank in your contacts. That way, you know exactly who to call if you suspect someone is trying to scam you.
The best suggestion? If you get a call out of the blue, you have the right to remain skeptical.
“Questions and instructions that may seem to not matter may help the fraudster to reach their ultimate goal,” Taylor said. “Being cautious and suspicious may help prevent you from becoming a victim of call forwarding scams.”
If you believe that you are a victim of fraud, or if you have received a suspicious alert or communication, please call your bank (Regions customers can call Regions Client Services immediately at 1-800-787-3905). Additionally, report any fraudulent activity to www.ic3.gov. Be diligent in protecting personal information like your username, password, and security codes.
Remember, you can get fraud prevention information year-round from us at regions.com.
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The information presented is general in nature and should not be considered, legal, accounting or tax advice. Regions reminds its customers that they should be vigilant about fraud and security and that they are responsible for taking action to protect their computer systems. Fraud prevention requires a continuous review of your policies and practices, as the threat evolves daily. There is no guarantee that all fraudulent transactions will be prevented or that related financial losses will not occur. Visit regions.com/STOPFRAUD or speak with your banker for further information on how you can help prevent fraud.