Scam Shield: The Knowledge and Power to Fight Fraud
Published 12:13 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Every day, fraudsters are targeting consumers with new schemes. You can fight back by spotting red flags and safeguarding your information.
As a Team Lead and Financial Relationship Senior Consultant at Regions Bank in LaPlace, my colleagues and I work diligently to keep customers aware of the latest trends, as well as actions they can take to help keep their money safe. Knowledge is power. That’s why, at Regions, we work to help consumers stay a step ahead.
While each fraud attempt is unique, there are often common bonds that can help you recognize a scam. For example: You get a call from someone who sounds legitimate. He says he works for a company you trust. Or maybe you received an email with the company logo. With modern technology, fraudsters can do amazing things – like pretend to be a reputable financial institution.
This common scheme can come in the form of a text message, too. The fraudster may start by saying they are trying to help you because they just stopped a big purchase or an attempt to sign into an online account. They will ask you to verify yourself by providing your password or perhaps your debit or credit card information. They may also ask for your Social Security number or date of birth.
They are very convincing, preying on people’s fears and trying to reassure them they’re here to help. But this is called “phishing.” They just want your sensitive information so they can use it to get to your money. Phishing was the most common type of scam reported by the FBI in 2022.
Another scheme can come from buying or selling products online. Scammers seek people selling items, make an offer, and send a check for more than the asking price. They tell the victim to get an estimate for the shipping cost and ask to be sent back the difference in the form of money orders or gift cards. Their goal is for the victim to send money back to them before the fake check is returned as fraudulent. If the victim paid the difference back to the fraudster, they are at a loss for that money. When someone attempts to make a purchase from you in this manner, look for another buyer.
While there are other examples, the root cause of fraud is to get between you and your money. But an informed consumer can stop fraudsters in their tracks.
Remember these three steps.
- STOP: Do not move forward on a suspicious request received by email, text or over the phone. Hang up the phone. Don’t respond to the text or email. Don’t click on any links they send you.
- CALL: If someone is pretending to represent a legitimate company, call the actual company using their published, verified phone number.
- CONFIRM: Verify whether the legitimate company was actually trying to contact you – and confirm to the company that someone is impersonating them if it turns out the message or call you received was illegitimate.
Always ask questions and do your homework. Take advantage of services that banks offer. At Regions we have Bill Pay, online banking, and our Lock-it feature. Bill Pay helps people streamline payments, choose their preferred payment dates, and stay on top of routine charges. With online banking, customers can consistently monitor their accounts, move money, and more. Regions LockIt® card controls give you the power to customize how your Regions personal credit cards, debit cards, prepaid Now Cards and ATM cards can be used. Regions LockIt is available through the Regions mobile banking app and in Online Banking. You may elect the level of control required to block the transactions you need for your particular situation — for example, if you suspect fraud, misplace your card or just want to manage how and where a card is used. Information about LockIt card controls may be found at regions.com/lockit.
We consistently update our fraud prevention information at regions.doingmoretoday.com/fraudprevention and www.regions.com/stopfraud. We encourage you to check it out.
And we invite you to stop by and talk to us in-person. Our job is to help every customer by having a needs-based conversation and giving advice to help meet those needs.
By educating the community, we hope to give people the knowledge and power it takes to fight fraud and shield yourself from scams.
Charles Franc is the Team Lead and Financial Relationship Senior Consultant at Regions Bank. Regions Bank is located at 110 Belle Terre Blvd in LaPlace.