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Fraud Watch March 2024: Real-Life Tech Support Scam

Mar 28, 2024 Fraud Prevention , Personal
upset elderly woman looking at her computer

The month of March brings with it feelings of transition and renewal as we usher in a new season, but that doesn’t stop the scammers. This monthwe shed light on the latest schemes targeting consumers and our very own customers. We highlight how easy it is to give in to a tech support scam, elder financial abuse tactics that criminals are using, tax refund scams, and debt relief swindlers. Let’s dive in to help keep you protected!

Top 3 Ways to Keep Your Money Safe:

  1. Do not give your login credentials to anyone — including anyone claiming to be from BankSouth.
  2. Don’t share your personal information or account numbers. BankSouth and other financial institutions will never ask for your account number, personal information, or login credentials over the phone or email.
  3. Avoid clicking on any links in any unsolicited emails or text messages. When in doubt, don’t click.

Real-Life Tech Support Scam

We had a customer recently lose a significant amount of money. A “tech support window” popped up on our customer’s computer that said her computer was compromised and that it needed to be repaired. Next the scammer convinced the customer that they would connect her with someone at her bank whom she gave all of her account information to. This person then instructed our customer to go to her local branch and withdraw a large sum of money to purchase gift cards to pay for the service of repairing her computer.

The customer followed these instructions and lost the money she withdrew. The company was not a tech support company, and the people that our customer was connected to were not employees of BankSouth.

If anything like this happens to you, please report it to your banker and to the proper local authorities and agencies. We have resources on our website for support if this happens to you.

Elder Abuse Fraud Scams

According to Nasdaq’s 2024 Global Financial Crime Report, $77.7 billion of all reported global fraud was linked to the elderly community. Elder theft and fraud can show up in many forms, ranging from false promises of goods and services, financial aid, to fake tech support scams that claim to be from tech giants like Microsoft or Apple. Scammers persistently try to take advantage of the trust extended by elderly Americans, so we urge our customers — elderly and of younger generations — to stay vigilant against such schemes to keep our elderly population protected.

Common Scams Targeting Seniors in Georgia:

  • Grandparent and family scam: a call gets placed by a scammer pretending to be their grandchild or family member in trouble and immediately asks for money to help with an unexpected financial situation whether it be medical related, car repairs, etc.
  • Tech support scams: an unsolicited call or a popup on your computer comes up claiming your device has a virus or your computer needs speeding up.
    Robocalls and phishing messages: an email, call, or text you didn’t expect asks you to verify sensitive information to verify an online account through a “secured” link.
  • Funeral scams: an attempt from scammers that try to extort money from relatives of the deceased claiming he or she owes them money.
  • Healthcare/Medicare/Insurance/Prescription scams: Perpetrators pose as a representative to get elders to divulge personal information claiming to bill Medicare or insurance companies for fake services, ultimately pocketing the money for themselves.

How to Prevent Scams Against Elderly:

  • Be suspicious of all unsolicited calls, emails, and text messages.
  • Resist the pressure to act immediately.
  • Keep your personal information and account numbers private.
  • Ask questions and don’t hesitate to talk to someone you know and trust about the situation.
  • Be aware of the top scams targeting seniors in Georgia.

Unclaimed Tax Refund Scams

According to the IRS, there is a scheme that involves a mailing that tries to mislead people into believing they have an unclaimed tax refund. The mailing typically arrives in a cardboard envelope from a delivery service. It includes a letter bearing the IRS masthead and contact information, which, contrary to what is stated, does not belong to the IRS. The notice claims to be “in relation to your unclaimed refund.”

How to Avoid This Scam:

  • Verify the sender through the official communication channels for the IRS.
  • Don’t click any links from electronic communications that claim to be from the IRS.
  • If you know you’re due a refund, you can check the status of your refund on the IRS official website using the Where’s My Refund tool.
  • Be aware that the IRS states they do not reach out to taxpayers by email, text, or social media about unpaid taxes. The IRS first contacts taxpayer by mail using the U.S. Postal Service.

Debt Relief Scams

Targeting persons with high credit card debt and poor credit scores, scammers lure consumers to purchase fake services that claim to remove negative information from credit reports and settle debt with creditors to reduce consumers’ repayment obligations and strengthen their credit. These types of scams contact you unsolicited and require payment immediately.

How to Avoid This Scam:

  • Don’t do business with, or pay, anyone that claims they can guarantee results for a fee.
  • Avoid sharing sensitive information or personal data with anyone who contacts you unsolicited.

Stay Protected From Scams

We see fraud attempts almost every day. While we do our best to keep every customer protected, there are ways you can prevent fraud from happening to you.

Stay one step ahead and bookmark our help article on avoiding and reporting scams. We update this article regularly to keep you in the know of the latest scams.

  • Recently reported scams
  • Tips to avoid scams
  • How to report a scam
  • What we WILL and WILL NOT ask for to verify your identity

More tips to avoid fraud can be found here.


Source of this month’s scam information:
Elderly scams: https://verafin.com/2024/03/elder-fraud-prevalent-preventable/
https://consumer.georgia.gov/top-10-scams-targeting-seniors

Tax scams: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scamsconsumer-alerts

Debt relief scams: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/topics/consumer-finance/debt-relief-credit-repair-scams

 

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