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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.

Know, Verify, & Be Aware Before You Zelle® (Cash App and Venmo, too)

Published 01/05/2024

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.

  • You should never use a person-to-person payment service, such as Zelle, Cash App, or Venmo, to send money to what the scammer calls "a new account in your name". Also, never trust the helpful caller if you are asked to send money to them and they will send it back to you.
  • Don't respond to a text. You could be giving away important information or installing harmful software on your device. Since we work directly with Zelle, we know they do not send texts about fraud.
  • Use a known number to call Bank of Travelers Rest or other financial service providers.

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).

Read more about Zelle fraud on the FTC's website.


Can you Spot a Phishing Scam?

Published:  10/05/2023

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.
We want every bank customer to become a pro at spotting a phishing scam—and stop bank impostors in their tracks. It starts with these four words: Banks Never Ask That. Because when you know something sounds suspicious, you’ll be less likely to be fooled.

These four phishing scams are full of red flags:

  • Text Message: If you receive a text message from someone claiming to be your bank asking you to sign in, or offer up your personal information, it’s a scam. Banks Never Ask That.
  • Email: Watch out for emails that ask you to click a suspicious link or provide personal information. The sender may claim to be someone from your bank, but it’s a scam. Banks Never Ask That.
  • Phone Call: Would your bank ever call you to verify your account number? No! Banks Never Ask That. If you’re ever in doubt that the caller is legitimate, just hang up and call the bank directly at a number you trust.
  • Payment Apps: Beware of text messages from someone claiming to be your bank saying your account has been hacked. The scammer may ask you to send money to a new account they’ve created for you, but that’s a scam! Banks Never Ask That.

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 And be sure to share the webpage with your friends and family.


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 

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. 



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