No Regions scams reported here yet, bankers say take care

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Regions Bank customers are asked to be wary of anyone calling asking for verification of account numbers. It’s a scam.

Scam artists using an automated phone message system and e-mails are trying to direct Region Financial Corp. customers to an authentic-looking Web site as part of a phishing scheme, bank officials said.

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Regions spokesman Tim Deighton said the fake e-mails and automated calls started Monday night and have been reported across Alabama and Tennessee.

Blake said they have not been alerted to any Dallas County residents receiving calls, but if anyone is contacted he urges them not to respond.

Blake said the telephone is one way scam artists spring into action this time of year. He said customers should also be wary of Internet scams via e-mail.

The bank offers tips on how to avoid predators seeking to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.

On the counter of the downtown branch a sign warns customers &8220;Don’t get ripped off.&8221;

The e-mail directs readers to a Web site that is identical to Regions’ online banking sign-in page, but it doesn’t have in the address line.

The automated phone call directs customers to log on to the Web site or call a toll-free number and provide information needed to access their accounts.

Deighton stressed that Regions wouldn’t request that kind of information over the phone or through an e-mail.

Phishing activity typically increases in the wake of bank mergers. In computing, phishing is a criminal activity using social engineering techniques. Phishers attempt to fraudulently acquire sensitive information.

People involved in these type schemes use bank mergers and the uncertainty they can create as a chance to persuade customers to divulge account information.

Regions completed its $10 billion merger with AmSouth Bancorp. a year ago, and converted its Alabama branches in July.

“If people have inadvertently given out their account information, please contact Regions so we can close your accounts immediately,” Deighton said.

The FBI issued a statement saying its cyber crimes unit was working with Regions’ security to catch the perpetrators.