Banking Industry Ramps Up Efforts to Empower Consumers to Spot Scams
With the holidays in full swing, the American Bankers Association and member banks across the country are stepping up efforts to educate consumers on the threat of scams and how to protect themselves this holiday shopping season. Scammers are taking advantage of the holidays to target shoppers with phishing attacks, fake deals, lookalike websites and charity scams. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, victims lost $6.9 billion to internet scams in 2021. To combat the scammers targeting bank customers, ABA and banks across the country are providing tips and information to keep consumers a step ahead.
“Empowering people to spot scams before it’s too late is the best way to protect consumers,” said ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols. “Through ABA’s #BanksNeverAskThat campaign and the ABA Foundation’s consumer education programs, banks of all sizes are arming Americans with the tools and information they need to turn the tables on the scammers and keep their money safe.”
Many scams begin with a fraudulent email, phone call or text message—also known as a phishing attack—designed to trick consumers into giving up confidential information like account numbers, passwords or PINs. ABA’s free #BanksNeverAskThat campaign aims to educate consumers about phishing scams using humor to make the lessons engaging and memorable. Since the campaign launched in October 2020, more than 2,400 banks of all sizes have participated, including the majority of the country’s largest banks. The campaign’s videos have had nearly 1.5 million views and there have been more than 700,000 visits to the consumer-facing website, BanksNeverAskThat.com. This year’s updated campaign featured posts from social media influencers @cathypedrayes and @IRLRosie, which were viewed by nearly 500,000 TikTok and Instagram users, and about 80,000 people have participated in the new, interactive game, “Scam City.” In addition, there have been more than 11 million impressions of media interviews about the campaign that aired on 1,605 radio stations and 12 television stations since October this year.
The campaign is currently featuring new holiday-themed content designed to remind consumers about questions their banks will never ask. “Do you use a snow shovel or snow blower to clear your driveway?” one post asks social media users. “One thing is definitely clear – #BanksNeverAskThat, and they won’t ask for your SSN over the phone either. See what else banks will never ask: https://aba.social/3lpYQz4.”
In addition, the ABA Foundation offers consumer tips and educational materials through its free national programs including Safe Banking for Seniors and Get Smart About Credit. This year, banks participating in the Foundation’s programs reached nearly 900,000 consumers. The Safe Banking for Seniors program offers a collection of videos, handouts and social posts about identifying and avoiding scams. The Get Smart About Credit program has resources on “Protecting Your Financial Identity,” including “Understanding ID Fraud.” Bankers can access free lesson plans, social shares, videos and tip sheets by registering at aba.com/FinEd.
Consumers can find additional ABA Foundation resources in the “Protect Yourself and Your Money” section of aba.com, which features information on avoiding scams, like peer-to-peer payment scams and charity scams, and how to protect yourself online and protect your identity.
“Whether it’s social media posts, emails to their customers or in-person presentations, banks are busy this holiday season and all year-round educating consumers and providing them with the information they need to avoid becoming a victim,” said Paul Benda, senior vice president, operational risk and cybersecurity at ABA.
To learn more about how consumers can protect themselves from phishing scams, visit www.BanksNeverAskThat.com. For more tips about protecting yourself online, visit the ABA Foundation’s consumer section at aba.com/consumers.