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Building a Digital Defense Against Tech Support Fraud

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On July 18, 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Portland released the following news, warning people against tech support fraud. In our continuing efforts to educate our clients about cyber security best practices, we wanted to share the FBI’s warning and advice, in its entirety, here on our blog site. Information about fraud and security best practices can be found on the Grandpoint website at grandpointbank.com.  

In 2016, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received almost 11,000 reports of tech support fraud incidents. In those cases, victims reported losses of more than $7.8 million.

So what is tech support fraud? Imagine you receive a call from someone who says he is with a computer software or security company. Maybe he says he is with a cable or Internet provider. The caller tells you that your software is out of date, and you are vulnerable to a cyber attack. Or, he says your equipment is malfunctioning, and he can fix it remotely — saving you a service call. All you have to do is to provide the caller with remote access to your computer or device. No idea what he’s talking about? No worries — he will be happy to walk you through all the technical details.

In another variation of the fraud, the bad guy convinces you that you overpaid for a recent service. He would be happy to refund the overage if you would just give him a few details — such as your bank account number — so he can arrange the refund.

In reality, he is either just trying to get into your account to clean it out — or, he is working for long-term access to launch other frauds. In this second example, he transfers money back and forth between your own checking, savings and retirement accounts to make it appear as though there is a refund when in fact there is none. Eventually, he tells you that he refunded too much and asks you to wire money back to the fraudulent company. Victims often don’t figure this out for quite a while as the losses pile up.

So how do you protect yourself?

  • Never give a stranger remote access to your computer or other electronics.
  • If something seems a bit odd, it probably is. Hang up and look up a phone number for that company or provider using a publicly-available resource.
  • Don’t give an unsolicited caller your bank account number or other personal information that he could use to access your accounts.
  • Don’t let someone pressure you into buying a computer security product or subscription. Oftentimes, there are reputable, free products that will do that work for you. Seek out help from someone you trust to ensure that if you do pay for something — it is worth the cost.

If you have been victimized by this scam or any other online scam, report your suspicious contacts to the FBI. You can file an online report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.govscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am or call your FBI local office.

This article can be found on the FBI’s Portland field office website.

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Grandpoint Bank Hires Duke Sheow as Senior Vice President/Information Security Officer

Sheow Duke Portrait-r 05_2017We’re happy to announce that Duke Sheow has joined our bank as Senior Vice President/ Information Security Officer. Duke works in our downtown Los Angeles office and manages information security, policies and compliance for Grandpoint and its divisions—Bank of Tucson, Regents Bank and The Biltmore Bank of Arizona.

Duke previously served as Chief Credit and Operations Officer at Green Dot Bank in Pasadena and as Senior Vice President/Credit Risk Officer at First Regional Bank in Century City. Notably, he also spent 14 years as an examiner at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in Los Angeles. His titles at the FDIC included senior information technology examiner and senior safety and soundness examiner.

Duke is focused on ways our bank and our clients can take steps to thwart hackers and criminals. Increased dependency on everything electronic has created a chain of virtual connections based on “trusted” relationships, and hackers will exploit each link until they find the weakest.

“Many businesses have alarms and cameras to protect their physical assets but have not invested in basic, low cost security measures for cyber-crime,” Duke said. According to the National Cybersecurity Alliance, about half of all cyberattacks target small businesses because they are soft and easy targets.

“The threat of viruses, malware, ransomware and social engineering extend beyond our clients, too, and onto our friends, families and social media connections,” Duke said.

Over the past two years, Duke has volunteered his time with the Federal Reserve Board’s faster payments and secure payments taskforces, which organize professionals in banking, retail and regulatory agencies to collectively identify and evaluate faster payment systems in the United States, while also examining the safety of those payment systems.

“Duke’s extensive background in safety and soundness, as well as information security risks, is a great fit for our bank and an advantage for our clients,” said Susan Wahba, executive vice president and chief risk officer at Grandpoint Bank. “We pursue many initiatives to fortify our information security systems and educate our clients about security topics important to their businesses. Hiring Duke further strengthens our leadership in these areas.”

We particularly like the number one reason Duke cited for wanting to join Grandpoint Bank. “What has impressed me the most is the passion I hear in my co-workers’ voices when they talk about the bank and what we do.”

Duke attended the University of California at Riverside and completed the four-year Examiner Commissioning Program. He resides in La Canada with his family.

When he’s not working, Duke shares a love of sports with his three sons. His passion for football, in particular, landed him an appearance on “The Today Show” last year, when an essay he wrote about the sport and family won him free tickets to the Super Bowl.

We’re glad Duke is playing for our team now, drawing from his experience with technology, information security, banking and risk management to oversee our information security program. Welcome, Duke!

For more information about cyber security and steps you can take, visit the security and fraud section of our website.

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