Industry Article

Scammers Taking Advantage of Coronavirus: 5 Tips to Help Keep Your Finances Safe

Fraudsters are capitalizing on the panic surrounding COVID-19 to scam people, but good sense can stop them cold.

While America adjusts to a new daily routine in an age of COVID-19, fraudsters seek new ways to separate you from your money.

Some of the latest fraud scams come via cellphone texts. They appear innocuous – if not inviting. An example is the promise of an expensive cellphone “to help you spend time at home” due to the outbreak. The message is personalized, calling you by name, and concluding with a link. As usual, the offer is too good to be true, and responding can put you at risk.

“Fraudsters prey on chaos, fear and uncertainty – we would expect there to be an increasing level of fraud attempts during the COVID-19 event,” said Jon Kucharski, Fraud Strategy Manager at Regions.

Thankfully, fraud prevention is a 24/7 focus for Regions Bank.

These five tips from our security team can help protect you from scams:

1. Enroll in your bank’s or credit card company’s online and mobile applications to monitor your account activity frequently, looking for suspicious activity.

2. Be skeptical, and use caution when reviewing all forms of communication (phone, text and email). Clicking links may expose you to viruses or other malicious malware.

3. While online, verify the legitimacy of websites you visit.

  • Turn on browser tools, which can help identify fraudulent websites.
  • Ensure the websites are secure and encrypted with HTTPS.
  • Look for links that are broken or take you away from the original website.
  • Shop through websites you know and trust.

4. Avoid any communication with anyone asking for money for COVID-19 research, investments in vaccines, or support for individuals you do not know personally via gift cards or pre-paid money cards.

5. Slow down, verify, and verify again the legitimacy of financial transactions before approving. Look for changes to account numbers, phone numbers, email addresses or other identifying information.

Don White, Head of Corporate Security at Regions, said being cautious is always Rule Number One. That applies even more now.

“It’s disappointing, but unfortunately, it’s not surprising that scam artists would try to prey on people’s fears of coronavirus,” White said. “Even though this is an unusual time, remember, the same security precautions you should take at all times still apply here. Don’t click on links in texts or emails that you didn’t sign up for. Don’t give your personal or financial information out to someone who’s soliciting you over the phone, in your email, or any other way trying to capitalize on fear.”

Jim Phillips, Compliance Intelligence Officer at Regions, also warned that fraudsters will try to take advantage of your generosity.

“If you’re asked to donate to help people affected by the virus, only donate to organizations that you know and trust – and contact them at their publicly identifiable phone numbers to arrange your gift,” Phillips said. “Be vigilant. And if you feel you’ve fallen victim to a scam, let your bank, your credit card company, and the authorities know.”

Knowledge and awareness are powerful defenses against cybercrime. For more fraud prevention tips and information, visit Regions’ Fraud Prevention Resources.

Talent-Leadership-Culture (TLC) Ep 9: Leadership During Crisis

ATC is proud to partner with Cendea to present the series, “Talent-Leadership-Culture (TLC)”. This blog series addresses the questions and gives insight to the art of finding the RIGHT tech leader to hire at the director level and above. Thank you to our experts for sharing their knowledge with the tech community.

We’re experiencing the pandemic Coronavirus.  Pandemic, from Greek words meaning “all” and “people,” is a disease epidemic that has spread across a vast region, for instance, multiple continents, or worldwide.  It can be devastating, the Black Plague pandemic in the 14th century killed somewhere between 75 to 200 million people.

Leadership has to step up to mitigate these enormous ramifications, yet each decision has its own set of consequences.  Ignore or delay doing anything, and it spreads entirely out of control.  Treat it lightly, and it continues mostly out of control.  Take more aggressive actions and hope to slow it down.

Businesses can feel like they are in the same scenario.  The crisis is “pandemic” to their “world” because everything is fighting survival!  What should leaders do when their company is in crisis?

The situation is dire, yet it seems so obvious.  The problem lies in timing and leadership.  When do you have valid, useful information as a decision-maker, and are you claiming the answer was obvious in hindsight?

Leadership in the crisis mindset

You can be a great leader in good times, perhaps even in bad times, yet fail to succeed in crisis.  It is hard not to have that deer in the headlights look where you just freeze.  Maybe that fear makes you want to jump ship, but a truly great leader is out to protect their ship with their people on board.

Here’s what a great leader does in crisis:

Sacrifices their time:  They have a dedication and passion for their people and won’t stop until they have done everything that they can do to find the right solutions to the problem.  People see this and put their trust in that leader.  This sacrifice creates the confidence the team needs to follow them.

They are a rock and don’t panic:  Leaders don’t wait until they have all the facts but must evaluate the situation with the best information possible and adjust if necessary as new information is known.  People want to follow leaders who aren’t easily shaken.  Leaders need to show that they can make decisions and are open to direction adjustments based on new information.  Everyone is watching, and if their leader abandons ship, then they will too.

Makes things happen quickly:  Decisions happen, but it is clear that they’re not merely out of reaction mode.  They gather reliable information, listen to proven advisors, and move forward.  Remember, most people want to follow, but most of those will panic if there is not a person making decisions quickly, thus leaving room for rumors to fly.

Communicates clear and honest expectations:  People like to be included and in the know.  Rumors happen when communication doesn’t happen, or people believe they are not told the truth.  A great leader also does not overpromise.  Open communication helps people commit to their leader and perform the tasks necessary to help the company solve the crisis – even when it is down to survival mode.

Keep their cool:  Leaders become the anchor that people need when they aren’t in reactionary mode or showing a false face where people feel tricked.  They recognize that their world is depending on them.  Their team, once again, can survive the storm better when they have a leader showing the calm during chaos.

The Coronavirus is a pandemic that most companies will have to fight

Apple has significant supply chains in China, and this pandemic has beaten down their stock.  Some employees may lose their jobs, but with billions of dollars in the bank, company survival is probably not their driving question.  However, the majority of the world is small to medium businesses, most likely without a similar ratio bank account stockpiled.

Survival will affect each company differently, and more than likely have some negative ramifications.  Some companies may not be affected by work-from-home mandates, whereas others could be devastated.  There are many unknowns because we’ve never experienced anything like this in modern-day history before now.

Leadership, whether at an Apple type company or an SMB, will drive the best success for each company.  They need to inspire confidence in their people with these skills to make the best of things.  These skills are essential for maximizing success, but of course, the leader’s business skills are very critical in knowing what to do and finding ways with their team to solve the situation.  The key is that you need your team to discover and execute the best-laid plans.

The strength of a company is in its Talent-Leadership-Culture, where you, as the leader, do everything that you can to help maximize success.  Great leadership opens the door for everyone to step up.  This success can allow a company to come out of a crisis stronger.


Cendea has over 25 years of securing great talent for great opportunities.  Please feel free to call us at 512.219.6000. Wade Allen, President & CEO, x101, or Jim Bledsoe, Senior Partner, x121.

 

ATC Introduces Virtual Roundtables in Response to Community Changes

After a week or more of remote work, continuing to build business relationships, keep the community connected, and offer professional growth opportunities is still top of mind for tech business leaders. Our community members are eager to share their expertise, current services, product launches, etc. but are looking for the right vehicle to share their message. In response to our community’s need, ATC introduces Virtual Roundtables, hosted online as a healthy and responsible alternative to our in-person Roundtable breakfasts.

ATC promotes and supports the growth of the Austin Tech community, even in this uncharted reality. Through the ATC Virtual Roundtables, we work with your company to craft an impactful industry topic and then invite tech leaders to participate in open discussion facilitated by your company’s subject matter expert.

Virtual Roundtables are hosted online via fellow ATC member StarLeaf’s video conferencing platform. StarLeaf is the expert in video conferencing and unified communications and they have provided a few immediate no-obligation resources for ATC and our community to stay connected. <<ATC Members, go to the Member Offers page via your Member Portal for information on StarLeaf’s offer>>

If you are interested in hosting a Virtual Roundtable please reach out to Beth Darby, Head of Sales, Beth@AustinTechnologyCouncil.org.

Don’t Miss ATC News

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.