Cyber fraud in the time of Covid

Dave MillerInside 640, Our Town Leaders

After a year of this new normal, it would be an understatement to say we’ve learned to pivot or do things differently.

Similarly, fraudsters are also utilizing these unique times in an attempt to acquire your personal information and money. First Horizon monitors these developing schemes closely and, we encourage you to stay vigilant in your efforts to safeguard your personal information.

In December, the SBA released the company names and other information for those that received a Paycheck Protection Program loan. Some of the other information that was released, such as the loan amount, the name of the bank the funds were directed to, and who benefitted from the loan is now being used by fraudsters to target these businesses.

The scammers will call or email and use the actual names and tiles of individuals that work where that business banks. This is often under the guise of needing more information in regards to their PPP loan, and during the course of the conversation, the fraudster will ask for account information or to make a wire transfer.

Here are a few ways you can protect yourself and your business against these schemes:

  • Do not provide your logins, financial data or other personal information in response to an unsolicited email, social media post, text or phone call. First Horizon will never email or text you requesting you to call or respond with your account number, PIN or access code.
  • Refrain from opening attachments or clicking links within emails or texts from senders that you do not recognize.
  • Do not trust your Caller ID. Scammers may pose as an alternate identity to steal your personal information. First Horizon will never call you and ask to verify your account numbers, password or access code.
  • Always validate a person’s organization by calling them back through an official phone number. Do not call phone numbers mentioned in the questionable message.
  • Protect your devices (e.g., phone, tablet and computer) with the latest browsers, operating systems and antivirus software.

When in doubt, contact your banker or call the number on the back of your card to confirm the contact you received was valid. First Horizon works to educate our clients about fraud and to give you the information you need to evade these schemes.

Dave Miller is president of the East Tennessee Region, First Horizon Bank.

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