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ALERT: Bank clients cautioned amid SIM-swap attacks

May 03 2017 05:00

Cape Town - Internet fraud remains a concern to the banking industry, said the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) in the wake of a possible legal battle over illegitimate SIM-swaps costing customers millions.

The CEO of the non-profit company, focusing on industry efforts in combating bank-related crime, appealed to clients to be vigilant.

READ: SIM-swap scams: How Vodacom protects you

"Bank clients are cautioned not to click on any hyperlinks in emails purporting to come from a bank asking them to update their personal information or to log onto their internet banking facility," Kalyani Pillay told Fin24. 

"Always type your bank’s web address into the browser yourself, if you want to access your internet banking profile. It is also important to ensure that the digital devices that you use to do your banking are protected with the latest anti-virus software," she recommended.

What action to take

Pillay said anyone who may have disclosed confidential information (username and passwords) in a suspected phishing scam should change their credentials immediately. 

"It is also important to notify your bank so that they can assist with monitoring your account. If you are alerted to transactions that you did not make, notify your bank immediately so that they can assist you to mitigate the risk of further losses. Your bank will guide you with what actions to take to safeguard yourself. Changing of compromised login credentials will be necessary."

She noted that banks take security seriously and continuously review technology in use.

READ: SIM-swap victims mull legal action against banks

Fin24 reported in April that a man who lost R1.8m is part of a growing group of disgruntled clients preparing for a legal fight with banks and cell phone companies.

Cape Town-based corporate law activist and attorney Johan Victor claimed it would appear that syndicates with members inside banks and cell phone companies work together to defraud unsuspecting consumers.

He explained that all the cases of his clients follow a similar trend."The clients have all fallen victim to SIM-swap or alleged phishing fraud. However, in none of the cases could it be found, after inspection and analysis of clients' hard drives and computers that they interacted with any of the phishing emails." 

Marlize Joubert wrote to Fin24 saying she is also a victim, however when she turned to the banking ombudsman, her claim was declined. Fin24 user Flint Naidoo had some success with his bank, which managed to refund him R30 000 after R63 000 went missing from his account.

Turning the focus away from banks, Fin24 user Gordon Parish said in his view cell companies should be blamed for illegitimate SIM-swaps. "Stop blaming banks ... I get an email and an SMS every time my account is used".

Concurring with this view, Jenny Blaine Kleyn questioned why banks are being targeted. "Surely it must be the cell phone companies."

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

sabric  |  fraud  |  banks  |  sim-swap  |  phishing scams
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