By Chris B. Bennett, The Portland Medium
As the digital landscape evolves, so do the tactics employed by scammers and fraudsters.
The Seattle Medium recently talked to Quincy Crawford, VP Branch Manager at Chase, about the things consumers can do to protect themselves from financial threats. During our interview, Crawford emphasized the importance of awareness and provided practical advice to navigate the ever-growing landscape and the complexity of scams and fraud that are utilized today.
“There are many scams out there, and they certainly are learning new tricks” says Crawford. “They’re (scammers) always trying to find ways that may not already be in the forefront. They’re trying routes and methods that allow them to execute.”
Financial protection is of paramount importance in the face of these evolving threats. Crawford highlighted the significance of being informed, aware and taking the necessary steps to avoid falling prey to scammers.
When asked if people can be overly skeptical or cautious when it comes to protecting their assets and money, Crawford says “absolutely not.”
“You see people lose so much just by not following certain steps,” he says. “If you don’t trust it, always go directly to the source. Whoever they say they are, always go directly to that source. Don’t speak with that person that may be reaching out or calling you or emailing you. If you have business with a company, go directly to the source. Hang up or don’t answer the email. Just call the direct source.”
The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has introduced new challenges, with scammers now employing deep fake scams to dupe individuals. Crawford warned, “Beware of artificial intelligence, or we call them deep fake scams. Scammers can duplicate familiar voices, tricking consumers out of their money and personal information. Be extra careful of friends and family members calling suddenly and needing help. Hang up and call them back.”
Emails, text messages, and calls claiming to be from banks or government agencies are also common tactics used by scammers. Crawford believes that consumers should be skeptical of communications that they did not initiate, especially if it is someone from a bank or utility company demanding payment right away.
“Scammers can impersonate banks, utility companies, even government agencies to fool or trick consumers out of money,” says Crawford. “Always scrutinize it. If someone calls you and tells you there’s something wrong with your account, hang up and call your bank directly using the number on the back of your card.”
Contrary to the perception that scams primarily target older individuals, Crawford says that’s not always the case.
“It’s not just relegated to older individuals,” says Crawford. “Anyone is at risk if they’re not privy to ways of avoiding, such as we spoke about. Don’t make it age-specific because it can be you, no matter who you are.”
In addition to some of the tips outlined by Crawford, Chase advises consumers to be aware of the following scam:
• Don’t let your favorite retailers fool you – scammers will claim to be a company you may be familiar with and declare there is an issue with your account or a recent order or send you a fake receipt for goods to incite you to dispute them. Make purchases from trusted websites and vendors only; steer clear of private sellers or websites with sales at prices that seem too good to be true. Never go off an online platform to close a deal or communicate with a buyer or seller.
• Beware of rental scams – scammers may pose as landlords looking to rent a property and convince the victim to send a deposit to hold it. Make sure the listing appears on multiple online platforms, has a detailed description, contact information and good customer reviews. If possible, meet the landlord in person and visit the property to ensure the rental offering is legitimate before fulfilling any request for a money transfer.
• Beware of tech support offerings – some scammers will assert there are issues with your computer by posing as tech support and encourage you to click suspicious links via text or pop-up windows on your computer to help solve your “issue.” If a caller says your computer has a problem, hang up. Never give anyone remote access to your computer unless you can 100% verify who they are. If you’re worried about a virus or other threat, call your security software company directly, using the phone number on its website.
• Stay away from “malvertising” – scammers are placing fake phone numbers in search engines and online ads under the names of legitimate companies like banks or airlines. People call those numbers and are tricked into sharing account or other personal information. Avoid this “malvertising” by typing the full URL for the company in the address bar instead of entering the company name in the search bar, and don’t click search ads.
When asked what individuals can do to protect themselves, Crawford emphasized maintaining composure and confidence.
“Take a deep breath, be calm. Even if you aren’t aware of all the emerging threats, you can protect yourself by simply refusing to give your personal information,” he advised. “Create strong passwords, change them often, and use phrases only you would know and are virtually impossible for anyone to mimic.”
Crawford also highlighted the importance of swift action if someone feels they have fallen victim to a scam. “Throw your ego away. Call your bank. Don’t worry about the embarrassment.”
Scams and fraud may be on the rise, but with vigilance, awareness, and the right precautions, individuals can safeguard their finances and navigate the digital landscape with confidence.