AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - Cybercriminals have a new way of trying to get your money. It’s called a reverse instant payment scheme. The FBI just issued an alert about it recently. 

The scenario starts with a text. Cybercriminals pose as your bank and send a message that appears to be a bank fraud alert. The text asks if the victim initiated an instant money transfer using digital payment apps. After a victim responds, the cybercriminal calls from a number that looks like a bank's real 1-800 support line. The cybercriminal says they want to help you reverse a fake money transfer. Unfortunately, victims are actually tricked into sending funds to bank accounts under the criminal's control. 

These payment apps intend to transfer money quickly between users by using a recipient's email or phone number. Cybercriminals take advantage of this by asking the victim for their address, then adding it to a bank account controlled by the criminal. Ultimately, the scammer tricks the victim into "reversing" money that was never sent in the first place.

Steven Foster with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation says this is an elaborate scheme.

“They have collected information from past data breaches, that tell me who you bank with, things like your social security number, your home address, your telephone number, personal identifying information.” said Foster, Special Agent in Charge at the Georgia Cyber Crimes Center.

It’s a form of spearfishing. Essentially, cybercriminals target multiple people and cast a "net."

“Everyone they have this information on will get this text message saying you’ve initiated a transfer, if this isn’t correct say no. When they get that reply, that initiates their action.” explained Foster.

After a text reply., the cybercriminal calls you. They say they want to help, but they really just want to help themselves to your cash.

“If you remove your email address, and they create an account with your email address, and you transfer money to yourself, it’s actually going to an account the bad guys control.” said Foster.

Foster says to avoid this, you must be in control.

“Stop having that conversation through that medium, and go over to the actual bank, credit card company, wherever your money is, and have the conversation with their customer support directly.” said Foster.

If you do become a victim, act fast. Report it to IC3 and your bank. Foster says it is best to do this within 48 hours of the incident.

“If they [IC3/bank] can identify the bank account your money went into, they may be able to freeze those funds and reverse those funds legitimately back to the victim.” said Foster.

Cybercrimes are growing across the United States, including Georgia. Foster says that’s why you need to speak up if you become a victim.

“It’s a monstrous problem. But, because smoke doesn’t rise from cybercrime, helicopters don’t fly over the scene, there’s not that much attention given to cybercrime that I think it deserves. Because of that, the solve rate for these crimes is incredibly low.” said Foster.

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