The customer was beaming. She had the latest and best smartphone available on the market. But shortly after activating the phone, she managed to lock herself out – and couldn’t remember how to get back in.
Her solution was to do an online search for tech support, where she quickly found help. Except, the website she went to turned out to be an imposter site. While she thought she was signing up for legitimate support, she provided personal information scammers used to access her phone while she remained locked out, then drained her bank account.
The story of the tech support scam becomes more common every day.
As we become more reliant on tech, fraudsters try to use that tech against us. Our best advice is to stop, call and confirm. Stop what you’re doing, call a trusted number and confirm that the person making the request is authentic.Jeff Taylor, head of Commercial Fraud Forensics
With June being Elder Abuse Awareness month, the Doing More Today team wants to help protect customers and the public from tech support scams and other types of fraud – especially seniors who are preyed upon the most.
“As we become more reliant on tech, fraudsters try to use that tech against us,” said Jeff Taylor, head of Commercial Fraud Forensics at Regions Bank. “Our best advice is to stop, call and confirm. Stop what you’re doing, call a trusted number and confirm that the person making the request is authentic.”
You don’t need a phone to get scammed. Fraudsters use all lines of communication to try to get to you – from calls to emails to text messages.
One common message is a pop-up screen on your phone or computer urging you to respond immediately to an urgent security issue. You are then instructed to call a number or follow a link that actually contains malware. If you’re busy, and want the issue dealt with quickly, you might be fooled by a spoofed phone number, look-alike logo or website domain, or a fast-talking caller urging you to act quickly.
But there’s a catch. The goal of tech support scams is to get access to your financials or to get you to pay for unnecessary protection.
If you want to protect against a potential tech support scam, consider these steps to stay safe:
- Do not call the number or click on the link – Take a step back and don’t give anyone instant access to your information. Remember, stop, call and confirm. Microsoft, for example, doesn’t include a phone number on error and warning messages.
- Don’t trust a call out of the blue – Legitimate firms rarely make cold calls or send pop-ups to offer unsolicited help or to warn you of a security flaw.
- Don’t share personal information – You have the right to remain skeptical. So, why do they want you to provide your password, credit card information or bank routing numbers? If the request ties your stomach in knots, trust your gut.
- Always use unique passwords/phrases – This may be the simplest solution, but many opt for easy-to-remember passwords and then use them for multiple sites, which is asking for trouble.
- Install security software – Regularly run scans and routinely update anti-virus and anti-spyware programs.
“Anyone can fall for these scams,” said Kimberly Reece of the Regions Fraud Strategy Customer Advocacy Team. “The fact that fraudsters specifically target seniors is an immoral, but effective strategy. At Regions Bank, we work diligently at protecting all customers, especially our most vulnerable. And the best way to protect them is through education.”
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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.