Fraud Awareness: Brand Impersonators
Beware of phone calls from your service providers and stores. They may not be who they say.
Criminals who attempt to commit wire fraud aren’t always elite hackers on the dark web trying to steal data through a computer breach. Many customers are victimized by phone calls from legitimate-sounding representatives of companies you do business with. Unfortunately, many times these callers are lying and only pretending to be from the companies in an attempt to get your personal information.
Calls can range from your internet service provider calling with an offer to lower your bill or a big box store claiming they want to pay you to be a kind of secret shopper. To help alert you to potential scams, here is a list of common fraud attempts reported by Fraud Magazine and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
Spectrum or Xfinity phishing email scam. Massachusetts police reported this scam that targeted customers of Internet service provider Xfinity. Fraudsters initiated the scam by randomly sending an email message that said that a recent payment couldn't be processed until the recipient sent personally identifiable information (PII), including the victim's full name, username, password and Social Security number.
Delete these emails. Or if you aren’t sure if your ISP is trying to contact you, find the actual phone number online and give them a call. Of course, don't use the telephone number included in the email message.
The FTC reported similar phone calls that claimed to be from Spectrum. You may get calls pretending to be from other internet service providers. Don’t give your information to people who call you.
- Amazon password phishing email scam. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of a recent announcement that some Amazon customers’ passwords might have been exposed. The scammers email phishing messages to Amazon users. The emails contain malicious malware downloads that might scan users’ computers seeking PII.
- Louisiana Identity theft risk. Louisiana residents have recently been alerted that the state computer system containing PII has suffered a data breach, potentially exposing anyone with a driver’s license or state ID. The breach is real but beware of phishing attempts similar to the Amazon scams that attempt to take advantage of people whose information has been compromised.
- Facebook quiz scam. Cybercriminals snare Facebook users with fake quizzes that collect their PII, including contact information, friends' lists, photos and other personal social media content and history. They may sell the information to advertisers or cybercriminals. It’s best not to let third-party apps have permission or access to your Facebook accounts.
- Cybercriminals have targeted Facebook with thousands of scams. Duplicate profiles of your friends or relatives sometimes get created in an attempt to contact you seeking information. Don't be tempted to give up any of your PII under any circumstances, including via spam emails and phishing attempts. Consider restricting the personal, friends and family information you place on your Facebook account.
- Walmart employment scam. Cybercriminals are using Walmart as a front for an employment scam to drain victims' bank accounts or get their PII. The scammers work the fraud by mailing a victim an official-looking check from Walmart and telling the individual in an accompanying letter that it's "your first payment in your new position as a ‘quality control' expert at Walmart." If the victim attempts to cash the check, they risk exposing their bank account information. If you receive such a bogus check, destroy it and the accompanying letter.
Remember these additional tips to help keep your identity and accounts safe:
- Never give out your personal, account or payment information to someone who contacts you out of the blue and demands it. Hang up. It’s a scam.
- Don’t trust Caller ID. Scammers can fake caller IDs so it shows a company’s name or phone number. And never call back a number from a recorded message or listed in an unexpected email or text.
- Don’t pay for anything with a gift card. Gift cards are for gifts. If anyone tells you to pay with a gift card or to buy gift cards for anything other than a gift, it’s a scam. Don’t fall for it.
Remember that Cadence Bank will never call and ask you for your personally identifiable information nor ask you to transfer or wire money into outside accounts.
To learn more about how to deal with fraud and identity theft, visit the Cadence Fraud & Security Center.
This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.