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Puerto Rico Bankers Association reinforces anti-fraud educational efforts

The Puerto Rico Bankers Association (PRBA) announced the start of the second phase of its educational effort “Es un Pescao.” By using the phrase “If it smells fishy, it’s fishy,” the entity seeks to heighten the sense of awareness and suspicion in the general population to help people identify fraud in its different forms, the organization stated.

“When we presented ‘Es un Pescao’ a year ago, we focused on educating consumers on telltale signs of different fraud schemes so as to help them avoid falling for scammers’ tricks,” said Zoimé Álvarez-Rubio, executive vice president of the PRBA.

“We brought to their awareness the variety of pressure tactics scammers use over the phone, the danger of clicking on suspicious links, we also covered text messages and emails requesting urgent action; and emphasized the importance of not giving out personal or financial information such as your PIN number, and others,” she said.

“Now that they’re aware of these signs, we want to help them develop and sharpen that sixth sense or instinct that makes you think ‘something doesn’t smell right.’ Mainly the elderly population, that is one of the most vulnerable sectors,” Álvarez-Rubio said.

Citing the Property and Fraud Division of the San Juan Criminal Investigation Corps (CIC), the entity said the problem continues to be that people do not validate the legitimacy of the source that initiates the contact — through different channels — and they supply personal and/or financial information to scammers or carry out any seemingly “urgent” actions that are requested.

“Fraud never goes away. Every day we see scammers find new ways of deceiving people and taking advantage of current topics or trends to steal their information and property. So, a continuing education program on the subject is still necessary. We bring a clear message: if it smells fishy, it’s fishy,” added Álvarez-Rubio.

The “If it smells fishy, it’s fishy” campaign comprises graphic material and videos that invite the population to be suspicious when receiving calls, text messages, emails, documents, and electronic links from non-legitimate or unknown sources. It also calls for caution when faced with too-good-to-be-true offers and prizes from contests they haven’t entered.

In addition to covering the most common fraud schemes and offering recommendations on how to act when faced with a possible scam, the campaign will also be constantly updated by including any new scheme that may emerge.

The PRBA’s commercial bank members will support the effort by publishing the campaign on their own social networks for the benefit of their clients and to expand the campaign’s reach, she explained.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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