The call comes from a local number. When you answer, an automated voice implores you to call your bank through a toll-free number because you are late on a payment.
You’re not late. But you are curious. So, you call. Another automated voice says they’ve matched your cell phone number with your account. To verify, please enter your Social Security number.
Next step? Hang up.
Scammers are using new tactics – including posing as bankers — to gain access to your account. This one is among the latest and seems plausible enough. Except … banks don’t ask for personal information like Social Security numbers. Instead, scammers are trying to pry your credentials to take advantage of you.
At Regions, we’ve seen an uptick in fraud among person-to-person cash apps, where fraudsters have gained access to drain bank accounts.
If a stranger comes to your house, you’re not going to give them the keys to your house. The same applies for online information.
Anna Cash, fraud manager for Regions Bank
“This fraud is becoming all too common, but these products are just the conduit the fraudsters are using to obtain the funds,” said Anna Cash, fraud manager for Regions Bank. “This is really about the security of your personal information and password. Think of it this way: if a stranger comes to your house, you’re not going to give them the keys to your house. The same applies for online information.”
At Regions, the security of your personal information and your finances is one of our highest priorities. For that reason, our Corporate Security team would like to remind you of a few basic tips for protecting your information and your accounts:
- Don’t respond to unsolicited emails, phone calls or text messages asking for account or card numbers, or other personal information.
- Never share your PIN or your Regions Online Banking user ID or password with anyone. When Regions initiates contact with you, we will never ask you to provide your PINs or your Online Banking user ID or password in a call, text or other communication. We also will not ask you to provide your Social Security Number or other Taxpayer ID if you didn’t contact us first.
- Don’t share sensitive personal information on social media sites or respond to messages from unreliable sources.
- When using a person-to-person payment service, make sure you only send funds to individuals you know and trust.
- Review activity on your Regions accounts through Regions Online Banking, Mobile Banking or your monthly statement. Report anything that looks suspicious immediately.
- Sign up for a variety of alerts about activity on your Regions account, including transaction alerts, by logging in to Regions Online Banking and clicking the Customer Service tab.
- Finally, create passwords that are unique to Regions and change them frequently.
Curtrice Roby-Hill, claims detection manager for Regions, said this information can help protect others.
“Share this information – especially with your parents, who are more susceptible,” Roby-Hill said. “Have open communication with those you love because it’s beneficial to all of us.”
The biggest step to staying safe is to deny access to your account. Consider these strong password suggestions from Consumer Reports:
- Go long and complicated – Try a long phrase that is only meaningful to you. Something silly like “Mydogdigs4rubberbones!” can be both effective and easy to remember.
- Don’t recycle – Use different passwords for your accounts. Recycling passwords creates vulnerability. Try a password manager app.
- Use two-factor authentication – Two-factor authentication adds an additional layer of security. This typically entails entering a code sent to your smartphone.
- Don’t be too social – Be careful what you share on social media and limit your posts to people you actually know.
“People are getting their credentials compromised and scammers are running amuck,” said Jon Kucharski, fraud strategy manager at Regions. “Usually, it’s because they have easy passwords in the first place.
“The best thing you can do for yourself is treat your password like a scarce resource,” Kucharski added. “Make sure your credentials are robust and can’t be easily accessed, then actively manage and monitor your transactions. For example, enroll in online banking.”
Finally, remain on top of your accounts.
If you get an alert or notification from Regions or your bank about changes in your account, that could be a red flag.
“Before you call them back, make sure the number they leave is a trusted number,” Kucharski said. “If you get a text or email saying your information has changed and you need to call, go online to the bank’s website and verify the number first.”
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.