In the wake of Hurricane Ian – or any storm to come – Regions Bank is hard at work helping with the recovery.
That includes helping you stay safe from scammers. Natural disasters are bad enough without people trying to take advantage. Among the latest trends are imposters who pose as Regions or other financial institutions and businesses to try to gain access to accounts when people are justifiably distracted.
“Unfortunately, we live in a day and age where people try to take advantage of the most vulnerable,” said Adam Perino, the Cyber Threat Intelligence lead for Regions Bank. “If you need assistance from Regions Bank, please reach out to us. But be skeptical of financial institutions reaching out to you to offer disaster assistance in exchange for your personal or financial information.”
Those hit this past week will recover, in time. But a few common-sense steps can help ease the process along:
- If you have damage from a storm, be skeptical of anyone offering you services or free money following a disaster. If you need assistance, you should reach out to trusted organizations for help.
- If you need immediate work done, don’t pay large amounts up front. A reputable contractor will be able to foot the bill for materials.
- Do not provide personal or business information unless you are certain of a person’s authority and need to have the information.
- Scammers will often send malicious emails impersonating aid organizations, news reports or similar groups relevant to the disaster. It is important to review any link in an email. If you do need help from the purported company, reach out to the company directly.
- Do not send sensitive information over the internet until you’ve verified you are using a trusted site. Pay attention to the website address. Malicious websites may look identical to legitimate sites but often use a variation in spelling or a different domain (such as .net, .biz or a non-U.S. country code).
- At work, be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls or email messages from individuals asking about employees or other internal information. If someone claims to be from a legitimate organization, verify their identity by contacting the company directly.
- Moving forward, install and maintain anti-virus software, firewalls and email filters to reduce malicious traffic.
- Don’t just throw away electronic devices that have sensitive information. Keep personal information out of the hands of opportunistic data thieves by destroying hard drives, SIM cards and anything else that could potentially hold sensitive data.
- Keep a backup of key passwords, insurance policy numbers and financial accounts in a secure location.
Even if you haven’t been affected by a disaster, you may want to help others. Again, think before you act.
“Be careful who you donate money to, especially for those asking due to a recent disaster,” Perino added. “Know who’s asking for help and stick with organizations you know and trust, such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way or your local church.”
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.