Fraudsters will stop at nothing to gain access to your personal information. Once they have it, the gates are open for them to begin wreaking havoc on your identity and even your bank account. This section of our website is devoted to keeping you up-to-date on the most current scams as well as tips to help you avoid becoming a victim. If you feel you are a victim of a scam or fraud, please contact us immediately at 864-834-9031.
Know, Verify, & Be Aware Before You Zelle® (Cash App and Venmo, too)
The media has made us keenly aware of scams and fraud attempts happening all around us. It's easy to hear the reports and think, "That'll never happen to me." The truth is when you see a text or answer a call that leads you to think your money is in trouble, it's natural to act quickly and to do all you can to prevent the loss. When actually, the more information you share and instructions you follow, the more at risk your money becomes.
You've read not to give your username or password to anyone claiming to be a bank employee. But as technology has progressed, so has the sophistication of the scammers and their relentless attempts to commit fraud. Look for signs that the helpful call or text could be a scam.
The Federal Trade Commission's website has excellent resources to help educate consumers on fraud. As always, if you feel you have been a victim of a scam or fraud, reach out to Bank of Travelers Rest IMMEDIATELY by calling 864-834-9031. You may also file a complaint with the FTC by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).
Can you Spot a Phishing Scam?
Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank. And in this time of expanded use of online and mobile banking, the problem is only growing worse. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission’s report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $8.8 billion to phishing scams and other fraud in 2022—an increase of 44% over 2021.
It’s time to put scammers in their place. Online scams aren’t so scary when you know what to look for. And at Bank of Travelers Rest, we’re committed to helping you spot them as an extra layer of protection for your account. We’ve joined with the American Bankers Association and banks across the country in a nationwide effort to fight phishing—one scam at a time.
These four phishing scams are full of red flags:
You’ve probably seen some of these scams before. But that doesn’t stop a scammer from trying. For tips, videos and an interactive quiz to help you keep phishing criminals at bay, visit www.BanksNeverAskThat.com. And be sure to share the webpage with your friends and family.
Trends in Cyber Fraud
As new technologies evolve, so do the attempts to gain your personal information. And while thieves are undiscriminating in who they gain personal information from, they have distinct ways through which they trick people based on generational group differences. Here are a few trends we happen to know about:
The most common victim: seniors
It comes as no shock to read that cyber thieves target senior adults. Their efforts have become increasingly more aggressive since this group tends to be significantly less digitally savvy than younger groups. And what these cyber thieves are well aware...that 75% of the country’s assets belong to senior adults. In 2021, senior citizens 60 and older were dupped out of more than $1.7B to fraudsters, with individuals losing $18,246 on average, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2021 Elder Fraud Report. That’s up 74% from 2020 — an increase attributed to a combination of sophisticated tactics being employed by fraudsters, many seniors’ lack of familiarity with digital payments and assets, and the fact that a large number of people nearing retirement have insufficient savings. That key factor makes them more susceptible to promises of outsized investment returns.
To read more from the 2021 Elder Fraud Report, follow this link: Access the FBI's 2021 Elder Fraud Report
One-Time Password (OTP) Fraud
The numbers support seniors being the most common victims, but other generational groups cannot let their guard down. One-Time Password Fraud, or OTP for short, is gaining momentum as the same technology is being incorporated to legitimately circumvent fraud. One way fraudsters do this is by submitting a request on a customer's behalf that triggers an OTP to be sent to them. Then, they call that individual and impersonate a representative of a legitimate organization (such as a bank) and ask the account holder to confirm the number they were just sent.
Criminals are getting even more creative. A new OTP scam people are falling prey to involves the delivery of a package to your home, where an individual will impersonate a delivery agent and ask for an OTP in place of your signature. If a recipient says that they haven’t ordered a package and don’t want it, the agent will insist that an OTP is needed to cancel the order. They’ll send what is known as an OTP bot* to the recipient’s mobile phone. OTP bots are used to trigger the delivery of an authentic OTP code from a legitimate company to the individual’s phone, which, once shared with the delivery agent, can be used to hack someone’s account.
*What is a BOT? A BOT is an automated software application that performs repetitive tasks over a network. Based on programming instructions, a BOT can perform human-like behavior. Most BOTs are useful and can be used to chat with website visitors and interact with websites. When used correctly, BOTs can increase an organization's efficiency in serving its customers. But with the good comes the bad, some BOTs are designed to perform similar functions but with malicious intent. NOTE: Bank of Travelers Rest DOES NOT use a BOT in our Chat Feature. Our chat is managed through our Travelers Rest-based Customer Support Team.
QR Code Fraud
From fake parking app QR codes used to steal people’s credit card information to phony codes for installing malware on an individual’s phone, QR code fraud has been on the rise since the onset of COVID-19. The surge of contactless, mobile-initiated transactions during the pandemic meant that people became accustomed to scanning QR codes for things such as paperless menus. Oddly enough, though younger consumers tend to be more tech-savvy and familiar with mobile phone apps, a recent study found that they are more likely to fall prey to QR code fraud.
A new QR code scam is also making the rounds abroad and will soon make its way to the US if it hasn’t already. The scam is circulated via email through attached Microsoft Word documents using QR codes and text to make it undetectable by malware programs. The senders claim to be from the Chinese Ministry of Finance, or another governmental entity relevant to the target victim, and reach out to people about government grants they are eligible for. If individuals follow the instructions of the scammers, which ask that they access the QR content through WeChat, then they are directed to a fake electronic grant application used to capture their personal details, credentials, and ﬁnancial information. This info then gets harvested and either used by the criminals or sold to a third party to be used for future crimes.
A Few Things We Think You Should Know
As we publish this information for you to keep at the forefront of your mind, here are a few tips that we think you should know.
As always, if you feel you have been a victim of fraud or suspect that an attempt has been made to steal your personal information, contact us immediately. The best way to reach us is by phone at 864-834-9031. You may also chat with us (not a BOT) online or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zelle is a registered trademark of Early Warning Services, LLC. Zelle and the Zelle related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.