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Fraud Education

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.

Trends in Cyber Fraud

Published:  04/07/2023

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.

  • Never share an OTP with anyone, and make sure any OTP you use is one you have generated yourself directly through a company’s website or app.
  • Make sure to type in the URL when accessing any digital content.
  • Never click on any unverified link.
  • Only scan QR codes that you know are legitimate.
  • Don’t store any passwords on your phone.
  • Do not use public computers to access personal accounts.
  • Routinely check your accounts for suspicious activity

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 




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