Can you outsmart online scammers?
This month, the American Bankers Association, Regions Bank and financial institutions nationwide are launching a first-of-its-kind, industry-wide campaign to educate consumers about the persistent threat of phishing scams. The Federal Trade Commission estimates people lost $1.9 billion to phishing schemes in 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the threat.
To combat phishing, the #BanksNeverAskThat campaign uses attention-grabbing humor and other engaging content to empower consumers to identify bogus communications that might look like they’re from a bank – but are actually from scammers asking for sensitive information like passwords and Social Security numbers.
It pays to be a little leery and suspicious when you see a request for your information.
Jeff Taylor, head of Commercial Fraud Forensics for Regions Bank
“Phishing continues to be a predominant tactic used by fraudsters to obtain your personal information,” said Jeff Taylor, head of Commercial Fraud Forensics for Regions Bank. “They mask their request in ways that seem so legitimate and blend in with your normal course of business that you may not even realize you’ve been phished until it’s too late. It pays to be a little leery and suspicious when you see a request for your information.”
To get the point across, the national campaign’s animated GIFs ask social media users: “Do you prefer boxers or briefs? Do you believe in aliens?!”
“Banks would never ask you these questions,” said Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO. “Here’s another question a real bank would never ask: We’ve spotted some unusual activity on your account; can you please verify your username and password?”
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, making this the perfect time to share this information. During the month, Regions will share humorous short videos and consumer tips on social media and on Doing More Today. Because cybersecurity education can seem dull or forgettable to many people, the campaign is designed to be bright and bold with a bit of comedy.
“This campaign is an unprecedented effort by the banking industry to address a growing threat to our customers,” Nichols added. “Thanks to participating banks like Regions, we’re turning the tables on the bad guys by giving consumers the tools they need to spot illegitimate bank communications.”
The campaign’s short videos offer similarly ridiculous questions that banks would never ask and direct consumers to BanksNeverAskThat.com for more information. At that website, consumers will find the #BanksNeverAskThat quiz, videos, phishing red flags, tips and FAQs.
For more information about phishing scams and how to stop fraudsters in their tracks, visit www.BanksNeverAskThat.com.