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Monthly Archives: March 2024

Pig Butchering Scams: What You Need to Know

The next scam in our blog series covers a more complex scam that has plagued victims with financial and emotional stress: Pig Butchering Scams. These scams are complex in that they use advanced social engineering techniques that combine elements of both Romance Scams and Investment Scams. These scams have produced back-breaking financial losses in recent years and have even driven some victims to suicide. It is vital to understand how these scams work to protect yourself and those you care about. Why is it called Pig Butchering? Pig Butchering scams originated in 2019 in Southeast Asia and were coined “Shā Zhū Pán” which directly translates to “Killing Pig Plate,” the reason for this is that this scam is focused on completely wiping out a victim’s assets, or “take the whole pig.” How Does it Work? The fraudster will initially reach out to potential victims in the same fashion as in a Romance Scam, creating a fake online persona and then working to establish a relationship with a victim. Once the scammer has established a line of trust, they will work to gather information about a victim to identify any potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited. Some examples of what scammers will recognize as an emotional vulnerability include a recent divorce or breakup, loss of a job, loss of a family member, or someone who is in an abusive relationship. Vulnerabilities such as these make the victim more receptive to an online relationship and less likely to question whether the person they are talking to is trustworthy. Once the scammer has established a line of trust with the victim, they will begin to tell them about recent investments they have made that have garnered life-changing returns, generally in cryptocurrency. This is where aspects of a traditional Investment Scam come into play. Scammers will mask webpages full of fake information to appear as though they are credible, trusted sources. The websites are so realistic and effective that even cybersecurity professionals have been tricked into falling for this scam. Once the victim is ready to “invest,” the scammer will direct them to a website or app to make their investments. As accurate as it may appear, the website or app is never legitimate. Once a victim has made their initial “investment,” they can monitor their balance on the fraudulent website, observe they are receiving returns, and even pull their money out. Scammers allow victims to pull money out of the investment platform initially because it makes victims trust the platform more and the fake persona they are in a relationship with. From here, the scammer will target the victim via the fake persona and the investment website by encouraging further investment to maximize returns. With the website showing incredible earnings and the apparent ability to withdraw funds at will, victims will often begin pouring money in. Beyond placing their life savings into the platform, victims have gone as far as taking out a second mortgage on their homes and taking out personal loans […]

Congratulations Ryan Noyce! New Executive Vice President & Chief Lending Officer

SouthStar Bank is pleased to announce the promotion of Ryan Noyce to Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer.  Ryan is a 25-year banker and has served with SouthStar Bank for seven years. He is a graduate of Texas State University and a 2022 graduate of the Southwest Graduate School of Banking at SMU. Over his career, Ryan has worked in every position in the industry, from Personal Banker to Senior Vice President and Regional Executive. He began his career with SouthStar Bank as a Senior Commercial Loan Officer in the Steiner Ranch branch until he was promoted to Regional Credit Manager of the Urban South Region in 2019. Ryan is a veteran loan officer and has proven to be very successful in leading teams. Internally, he has won two of SouthStar Bank’s most prestigious awards, including the President’s Award for Urban South in 2020 and the Trailboss Award in 2021. In his new role, Ryan will bring the technical experience and positive mindset to continue leading SouthStar Bank down the path of safety, relationship building, growth, and profitability. He will also oversee the lending function in all 16 full-service locations and SouthStar Bank’s East Austin Loan Office. Outside the bank, Ryan is married to his wife, Melissa, and they have three children together. In his community, he is a very active member of his church, coaches his kids’ soccer teams, and serves as Chairman of the Board at Reveal Resource Center, a food, clothing, and diaper ministry serving Low to Moderate Income families. SouthStar Bank looks forward to Ryan’s continued efforts to make our star shine. Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender | NMLS# 665052

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Round Rock Family Eye Care

Brett Hamilton, OD is an Optometrist and the owner of Round Rock Family Eye Care. Dr. Hamilton came to SouthStar Bank interested in transitioning from leasing his medical office space to building and owning his own medical office building. The Bank was able to offer land purchase financing as well as conventional and SBA construction loan options which included permanent financing once construction was complete. During the process, SouthStar Bank was also able to provide Dr. Hamilton with business operating account solutions including Remote Deposit Capture so his operations managers could deposit checks right from their desk. Today, Dr. Hamilton is a full relationship customer who has personal and business accounts. SouthStar Bank was also able to provide a speedy PPP loan to aid his business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Triple B Hardware

Four years ago, Tony Bielamowicz of Bremond decided to expand the family cedar mill into a hardware store to serve the communities’ need for rural living supplies. After extending his building shell, he turned to SouthStar Bank for several loans including inventory, an eye-catching digital street sign, and later a forklift. Along the way, he enlisted SouthStar to set up his merchant services (credit card acceptance) account. Tony’s never met a stranger, and greets customers with free refreshments and expert DIY advice. “SouthStar Bank is a fantastic business partner. Norman and Justin check in regularly, and I’m comfortable asking for just about anything a bank provides. They made it a priority to understand my vision for a true mom-and-pop store where folks can come in for a part and some fix-it advice. Their help got us selling and keeps us going. Thanks in part to SouthStar, business is great!” —Marvin Sommerfeld, President, Sommerfeld Construction

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Sommerfeld Construction

“I’ve worked with Brent Gibbs at SouthStar Bank to finance construction of several high-end residential projects, including the spec home we are showing during this year’s Parade of Homes. From our first call through the final draw, they consistently make the process easy and straightforward – even when the project is not. The professionals at SouthStar Bank clearly understand builders and their needs, and deliver as promised.” —Marvin Sommerfeld, President, Sommerfeld Construction

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Arbogast Homes

“I have had the great pleasure of working with SouthStar Bank on several large, complex custom home projects. SouthStar Bank delivered exceptional service, great value, and a long term partnership to each and every client. I have been so impressed, I had SouthStar Bank finance my personal home as well.” —Tod Arbogast, President, Arbogast Homes

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