Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023: Be Protected From These Scams
September 21, 2023
October is recognized as Cybersecurity Awareness Month across the U.S., which means it’s a great time to review the latest scams and frauds that could impact our customers.
In today’s increasingly digital world, threats continue to pop up on a regular basis. These schemes are designed to separate you from your money and impact your financial well-being.
During Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023, we want to highlight the most prominent threats so that you can quickly recognize fraud and take action to protect yourself.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023: The Top U.S. Scams
According to the FBI, these are the most prevalent scams and crimes affecting consumers across the country:
- Business and Investment Fraud designed to access your bank account.
- Money Mules where consumers unknowingly transfer illegally acquired money on behalf of someone else.
- Business Email Compromise.
- Consumer Fraud Schemes.
- Spoofing and Phishing.
- Romance Scams.
- Charity and Disaster Fraud.
- Health Care Fraud.
- Skimming Schemes.
- Adoption Fraud.
- Trafficking Schemes.
- Elder Fraud.
- Election Fraud.
There is a typical formula that fraudsters follow for these types of scams. A fraudster claims to represent a legitimate entity, they present information in a manner that appears to be authentic, they ask you to take some sort of action, and then they take your money, gain access to your accounts/identity, or take advantage of you in some other manner.
As a bank, we want to focus on the different types of banking scams that are prevalent right now. Our goal is to alert you to the various scams that are in play attempting to gain access to your bank accounts and other financial information.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023: Banking Scams
1. Overpayment Scams. How this works is that a fraudster will send you a fake check, then ask you to deposit the check into your bank account. The next part of their plot is to ask you to wire part of the money back to them because they “overpaid you.” However, because the check is fake, you’ll eventually have to pay back the full amount of the check to the bank because it was an invalid deposit.
2. Unsolicited Check Fraud. A common scam right now is fraudsters sending out checks for seemingly no reason. If you receive a check that you did not request or anticipate, then make sure it’s legitimate. The risk is that if you deposit an unauthorized check, you could be unwillingly authorizing the purchase of something illegal for someone else.
3. Automatic Withdrawals. We have heard of many incidents where fraudsters attempt to link customers’ bank accounts to a prize drawing or a type of trial product/service. Then, once the fraudster has access to your account, they will attempt to set up automatic withdrawals from your bank account.
4. Phishing. In general, there are many different types of phishing schemes to be aware of. As it relates to banking, a fraudster will send you an email or contact you on social media with a message that appears to be legitimate. They will ask you to click a link to verify your bank account or debit card number. Unfortunately, clicking that link will give them access to your account information so that they can withdraw funds from your accounts or use your debit card to make unauthorized purchases.
– As you can see, there are various types of imposter scams across the country that attempt to gain access to your bank accounts. This is no different in our local area.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023: Scams in South Texas
The FTC keeps track of fraud and ID theft reports in regions across the country. FTC data as reported on public.tableau.com reveals a concerning trend in the South Texas region.
Overall during the first half of 2023, there were 21,626 reports of consumer fraud in the Houston-Sugar Land-The Woodlands metro region. This covers the counties of Harris, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Montgomery, and other counties.
Among the reported incidents, these were the Top 5 fraud categories:
- Imposter Scams (2,545 total reports)
- Online Shopping Scams (1,121 reports)
- Business and Job Opportunities (518 reports)
- Telephone and Mobile Services (410 reports)
- Investment Related (351 reports)
Imposters and fraudsters have many different ways of trying to exploit vulnerabilities to take advantage of consumers. Whether they pose as a legitimate entity or try to convince you to provide them with access to your accounts over the phone, they are constantly on the prowl looking for unsuspecting victims.
We encourage you to be alert to these types of scams, pause before taking action to think about whether this is legitimate or not, and contact our bank if you believe that someone is attempting to gain access to your accounts.
Because of the current trend of fraudsters initiating banking schemes in our area, Texas Gulf Bank takes cybersecurity very seriously. We are always looking out for the well-being of our customers to protect your identity, assets, and financial well-being.
How Texas Gulf Bank Supports Cybersecurity
We address cybersecurity at three levels to provide you with maximum protection:
1. We have put in place a layer of security to prevent unauthorized users from attempting to access the banking section of our website.
2. The second layer of protection focuses on protecting the security of each customer’s banking information when transmitted from our web server to your computer or mobile device.
3. Our third layer of security includes specific measures to prevent intrusion into our server and the database where customer information is stored.
Within our security infrastructure, we take specific actions to help provide you with end-to-end security coverage:
- We ask that you utilize complex passwords.
- We monitor online banking behavior so that we can spot unusual activity.
- We can set up specific alerts to contact you if we detect banking activity that does not fit your typical activity.
- We use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to safeguard your login information and account access from potential fraudsters.
- We utilize watermarks during log-in as an anti-phishing security measure.
- We allow you to utilize biometric authentication on eligible devices on the Texas Gulf Bank mobile app. Of course, no company or system can guarantee 100% security; our measures are meant to help minimize the risk to you and your accounts.
- For business customers, we protect your company’s accounts by implementing Dual Control Security to support transactions such as Bill Pay, Wire Transfer, and ACH.
We also have the ability to work with our customers on an individual basis to set up additional security controls that fit your unique needs. We offer the best of both worlds possessing the technology and expertise of a larger bank, while also offering customers a personal touch of implementing specific security measures to protect your accounts.
– If you are not already a Texas Gulf Bank customer, we invite you to learn more about switching your banking over to Texas Gulf Bank.
For more than 110 years, we have developed strong working relationships with individual and business customers along the Texas Gulf Coast. In today’s world, that means providing you with the best protection against cybersecurity threats so that you can have peace of mind about your financial interests.
To get started on a relationship with our bank, please give us a call to let us know how we can help you. We look forward to hearing from you.