New scam targets Internet banking users

Published 5:56 am Wednesday, March 23, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
If you receive an e-mail with the RegionsNet(r) logo and the following message do not reply to it:
"Recently there have been a large number of identity theft attempts targeting RegionsNet customers. In order to safeguard your account we require that you confirm your banking details. This process is mandatory."
In fact, according to Regions' media relations director Kristi Ellis, Regions will never send an e-mail to its customers and the only time they will ask for account information is if you call them.
"Regions does not contact customers via e-mail to verify or request security information; in fact, we say this on the pages of our Web site where our customers go each time to log in to online banking," Ellis said. "This fraudulent e-mail was not generated by us, and once we became aware of it being in circulation, we began working with the appropriate law enforcement authorities to track down its source. In addition, participation in groups such as the Identity Theft Assistance Corporation enables us to pool our resources with our industry peers to help fight identity theft and assist consumers who have been affected by this crime."
Local resident Blair Nassar was a victim of this type of account fraud.
"They kept telling me I had clicked on the link, but I didn't," Nassar said. "I kept getting e-mail from the fraud people claiming to be Regions. I did have e-mails from them in the junk e-mail folder."
Nassar was able to identify the problem almost as soon as it happened.
"I do use Internet banking and I happen to be a person who checks my accounts everyday," Nassar said. "I went on and knew I had been victimized. I knew there were problems in the account. I'm aware of every transaction made on my account so therefore I knew something had happened immediately when I logged on."
According to Ellis these frauds are not limited to just the banking industry.
"Anyone who does any sort of commerce online is at risk of this crime, not just banks," Ellis said.
Ellis said these crimes are far from new, but Regions is aware of the problem and has put in place policies to help prevent their customers from being victimized.
"Protecting our customers' privacy and the security of their financial information is an integral part of Regions' commitment to providing excellent, quality customer service," Ellis said. "Regions customers who suspect they have been a victim of identity theft are encouraged to report it to the bank as soon as an incident occurs. In fact, we have a consumer alert button on the front of our Web site for just this purpose."
Ellis also suggests that anyone worried about becoming the victim of a fraud of this type should visit, the Federal Trade Commission's Web site. She said to follow the Consumer Information Link.
According to the Regions Web site if you are a victim of fraud you should contact authorities immediately.
"If you believe that you have received or replied to a suspicious e-mail and provided private information about your Regions account, please contact us immediately at 1-800-REGIONS or via email at," Ellis concluded.

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