Category: Fraud Prevention Don’t Fall for a Text Message Scam Fraudsters impersonating banks use urgency and imposter numbers and links in an attempt to access your account. By Doug Segrest | October 10, 2023 October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise understanding nationally and internationally. 2023 marks the 20th annual Cybersecurity Awareness Month and all month long, Regions will be providing tips, information and resources on how you can stay cyber aware to make smart decisions that keep you, your family and your community safe online. Banks use text messages to reach you because it’s fast and convenient. Unfortunately, text message scams are also an easy way for criminals to take advantage of you. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the top text message scam currently going around involves bank impersonations. It doesn’t matter if you use a local or a national bank, you could be at risk if you don’t know how to respond. And the danger is immediate. These phishing compromises come from clicking on a link from a text message, or responding to an imposter’s email or voice message. “Sending and receiving a text message is as commonplace as saying good morning,” said Jeff Taylor, head of Commercial Fraud Forensics at Regions Bank. “Texting has become one more way to send a quick message to get the recipient’s attention. Unfortunately, fraudsters know all about texting and our dependence on it. “It pays to be cautious, aware and suspicious.” Remember, banks remain the safest place to keep your money. That’s why fraudsters try to gain access. This text impersonation scam was used 20 times more in 2022 than it was just a few years earlier with devastating results: consumer losses of more than $300 million, according to the FTC, in 2022 alone. Adding salt to the wound, these losses aren’t covered by the FDIC because the victim authorized the changes. 4 Steps to Stay Safe Thankfully, there are steps to take to keep your account safe: Be wary of an urgent message. That’s usually the first red flag that a scammer may be behind the text. Don’t click on any links from an unsolicited message. If you think it might be legitimate, look up the bank’s customer service number and make the call yourself. And ignore a phone number in the message. Again, if you think it might be legitimate, make the call from a number that you have on file. Ignore and delete messages with questions like, “Is this Lee’s phone?” Chances are it’s a fraudster looking to make contact. Text message scams intend to victimize you by taking advantage of distractions while using urgency and imposter numbers and links that can fool anyone in a hurry. The goal is to transfer money out of your account and get personal information that can be used later. “One sure warning: don’t call the number listed in the text,” Taylor added. “Most of these cases of smishing begin with a benign message, but then lead to a serious threat once the fraudster has you on the line.” If You Do Get Scammed Scammers aren’t going away, so if you do fall victim, take these two quick steps: Contact your bank and report the incident in an attempt to stop further transactions initiated by the scammer. Call local law enforcement and alert them of the scam. This may not only help you but it will help others down the road. Related Fraud Prevention Articles From Doing More Today: A Back-to-School Scam Primer 8 Steps to Protect Yourself from Imposter Scams Business Payment Fraud: What You Need to Know Buying a Home? Watch Out for This Type of Fraud #BanksNeverAskThat: 3 Signs a Text Message is a Scam Cybersecurity Awareness Month is co-managed by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and National Cybersecurity Alliance. For more information about ways to keep you and your family safe online visit https://www.cisa.gov/cybersecurity-awareness-month and https://staysafeonline.org/cybersecurity-awareness-month/. 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.