Every day, fraudsters are aggressively targeting consumers across the United States with new schemes. At the same time, the Regions Fraud Strategy team works to keep you safe by trying to stay one step ahead while educating customers of the latest trends.
“Bad actors work hard at devising new schemes to access your accounts and personal information,” said Kimberly L. Reece, Regions’ vice president of Fraud Strategy Customer Experience. “At Regions, we work diligently to make our customers aware of the latest trends and the best responses.”
Two current scams – Refund Fraud and Reversal Fraud – can begin with something as simple as an email, text of phone call:
- The scammer tries to convince you that there was a billing error, they are verifying a recent transaction, or that you are owed a refund related to a purchase
- They offer to help fix the issue by having you install a remote desktop software or app on your device
- The real purpose: to trick the customer into believing that once the “refund” has been processed the customer will receive significantly more than entitled to receive
- This induces panic for the customer by indicating that “the customer service rep” will be fired due to the error – or the customer will be in legal trouble if the funds are not returned
- The customer receives a fake text alert for a suspicious electronic or cash app transaction
- Once the customer replies, they receive a call with an offer to fix this by initiating a “payment reversal” transaction
The fraudsters may leverage these or other schemes, but the intention is always the same. They are working to get you to send them money.
“The good news is that there are red-flag warnings that can help you avoid being scammed,” Reece said.
For example, there are consistent lures used by fraudsters to get paid. Examples of the most common:
- Gift Cards – The fraudster may ask the customer to purchase gift cards from Amazon, Best Buy, or Walgreens (any store or gift card may be asked for). then request the codes from the gift cards
- Bank Transfers – The fraudster may Ask the customer to log into their bank account under the guise of proving that the funds have been refunded to their bank account – Once you log in the fraudster may change your password, initiate a transfer, or send funds via a cash app or other Payment Applications.
- Credit or Debit Card Transaction – Request your debit or credit card information under the ruse of sending you a credit to that card. They now have your card information and may proceed to make fraudulent transactions on your accounts.
- Cryptocurrency – The fraudster may request you to purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, or any of the other types of cryptocurrency.
- Payment Reversal – Request customer to change cash app tokens and initiate a transaction that provides the fraudster with immediate cash.
So, what is the consumer to do?
Hang up or ignore the message. It’s not difficult, especially if you recognize these Red Flags and the steps to take:
Red Flags to Look For
- Any request for you to buy gift cards or send money to the caller
- Any request for you to send a new transaction such as payment reversal
- Request to install any software or apps on your device, especially remote desktop software that provide the caller the ability to control your device
- Request for you to login to any of your banking, shopping, or investment accounts while on the phone or screen sharing
- Request for you to provide your personal information, user credentials, or account information
- Indicate that an error has occurred and the caller or you are in trouble if not corrected
- If the caller is pushy, aggressive, raises their voice, is rude, or gets angry
How to Protect Yourself
- Only call trusted phone numbers associated with your bank or merchant in response to a question or concern. You can find this readily on the company’s website or the back of your credit or debit card
- Before calling a number or clicking on a link in an email or text, login to the account in question and see if there has been any transaction that you don’t recognize or any alerts or notices to your account. Never login to an unknown link
- If you have been targeted or fallen victim to a scam in the past, unfortunately you are likely to be targeted again. So, be even more skeptical when you receive that call, email, or text
- When making purchases online, be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true.
- Anyone can set up a shop or post an ad on social media. If you can have a video call with the seller to meet them see what you are buying — especially if it’s a big-ticket item like a used car or pet
- Before sending money do an online search of the company, seller, or service. Keep in mind that no reviews can be a red flag, too.
- Secure your accounts – for more information for Regions’ customers visit: com/fraud-prevention.