Fraud Education News: December 2023

In this Edition: Guarding Against Impersonation Scams 

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At Bryant Bank, your financial security is our top priority. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, so do the tactics of cybercriminals. In this edition, we want to shed light on the persistent threat of impersonation scams and equip you with the knowledge to safeguard your personal and financial information.

Understanding Impersonation Scams

Impersonation and phishing scams involve fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, by disguising as a trustworthy entity. These deceptive messages often come in the form of emails, text messages, or phone calls, and they can be highly convincing.

The most common feature of these types of messages is urgency: A bill is overdue. An account has been compromised. A device or computer is infected. A cause needs your support. A loved one is in trouble. Some impostors pretend to be bearing good news — you’ve won a lottery, say, or a government grant.

Red Flag Scenarios:

 You receive an unsolicited call or email claiming you owe money to a business, utility or the government, and risk dire consequences such as arrest or an account being frozen if you don’t pay immediately.

 A caller says you’ve won a prize or qualify for a grant, but you must pay an upfront fee to collect it.

 A caller claims to be from a tech company or internet service provider that has detected a virus or malware on your computer.

 You receive a call or text message from someone who claims to be your grandchild or another close relation and to need money for an emergency.

 The person contacting you asks for payment by wire transfer, gift card, prepaid debit card or cash. Scammers favor these methods because they are hard to track.

Avoiding Impersonation Scams

Consider these precautions to avoid becoming a victim of a phishing scam:

Verify Email & Text Message Sources: Be cautious when receiving unsolicited emails and text messages especially those requesting personal information. Verify the sender’s email address or phone number, and if in doubt, contact the source directly to see if they did indeed attempt to reach out to you via email or text message. 

Be wary of false urgency. Scammers may try to create a sense of urgency to persuade you to do what they’re asking. Be wary any time someone tries to convince you that you must act now.

Avoid Clicking Suspicious Links: Cybercriminals often use links to direct you to fake websites. Hover over links to preview the URL before clicking. Ensure the web address begins with “https://” for secure sites.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enable MFA whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring multiple forms of identification before granting access to your accounts.

Stay Informed: Regularly check for updates on common phishing tactics and scams. Being informed empowers you to recognize potential threats and respond appropriately.

Keep Software Updated: Ensure that your operating system, antivirus software, and other applications are up to date. Updates often include security patches that protect against known vulnerabilities.

Impersonation Scam Trend: Holiday Package Text Alerts

Christmas Delivery

A popular scam during this season involves receiving a text or email regarding an upcoming delivery. The message may ask you to click on a link for a number of phony reasons, such as to get an update about the delivery date, track the package location, give your payment preferences, provide delivery instructions or pay a shipping fee. You may also be given a phone number to call for more information about your delivery. Since fraudsters want you to act without thinking, they may convey a sense of urgency in their message.

While some of these communications are obviously fraudulent—perhaps containing multiple misspellings or other errors—many are carefully crafted, even replicating a shipping company’s logo or email format in some cases. So, it’s easy to get duped, especially during the hectic holidays.

A recent AARP survey of U.S. adults found that 29% have received a fake notification about a shipment issue. These texts or emails do more than get your hopes up for a package that doesn’t exist.

If you receive any of these communications, it’s best to simply go to the shipper’s website for more information about your alleged delivery using the tracking number provided. (Type the website address directly into your browser because search results may lead you to a fake or phishing site that mimics the authentic one.) Or call the shipper using a verified phone number.

Unfortunately, clicking on the link may infect your phone or computer with malware that enables a cybercriminal to capture your passwords or take control of your device. Or it may direct you to a form that requests personally identifying information, which can be a gateway to identity theft.

One of the best ways to protect yourself from fraud is to have a banker you can call by name and that you know and trust. Ask your Bryant Banker about steps you can take to protect yourself and your business, or call Bryant Bank at 1-855-427-9268. Our team is dedicated to helping you guard your personal and business accounts and keep your money safe.

Reporting Potential Fraud 

If you think you’ve been targeted by a fraudster, please contact your Bryant Banker so that we can help you report it to the appropriate law enforcement.