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Be alert for these 9 online scams

Feb 20 2017 10:33
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – Innovation in the banking sector can be accompanied by threats of online banking fraud, says an expert.

Given the prevalence of banking scams consumers need to be more vigilant and must be aware of online banking fraud in order to protect themselves, explained Yolande Steyn, head of innovation at FNB.

“Remember, the bank will never ask for your username, password or PIN in an email, SMS, social media or phone call. Never select a link to our website that was sent via email,” said Steyn. It is better to type out your bank’s web address than to click on a link.

Steyn highlighted online banking scams to look out for:

Flight purchase debit scams

This scam works by sending an SMS informing a consumer of a flight purchase debited to his or her account. Fraudsters will request the consumer to select a link in the SMS to revise the transaction.

“When you select the link, you will be redirected to a fake FNB website. You are then redirected to an 'Update and Confirm Details' screen requesting more information to be verified. The fraudsters will now be in a position to access your banking profile,” said Steyn.

Social media scams

Beware of fraudsters pretending to represent your bank or representative on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and others. “We will never ask for your credit or cheque card number, account number, online banking login details or password or One Time PIN (OTP) on social media platforms,” warned Steyn.

Consumers must familiarise themselves with their banks’ social media handles. “The official accounts also display a blue tick indicating that they are verified,” added Steyn.

Change of banking details scam

Here a consumer receives an email that pretends to come from one of his or her suppliers. The email will request an update on banking details. “Beware of this even if it is on the supplier's letterhead,” warned Steyn. 

“Contact your supplier on the number that you already have for them and not the one on the fraudulent letter. Speak to someone you know at the supplier to confirm the change in banking details.”

Copy of payment notification scam

A consumer will receive an email requesting him or her to open a copy of their payment notification. Fraudsters will prompt you to login via the email attachment.

When the consumer opens the attachment in the email, he or she will be redirected to a fake bank website. In an attempt to steal the consumer’s banking details, the consumer will be requested to login. As soon as the consumer enters their login details on the screen, he or she will be redirected to a successfully logged out screen. This will give fraudsters access to the consumer’s banking profile, explained Steyn.

419 scams

The consumer will receive an email making an offer for a loan. “The details vary and large amounts of money are usually involved,” said Steyn.

However, the consumer’s banking details and deposits of money are required in advance in order to release the payment of the funds, she explained. The promised money transfer never happens, and fraudsters may use the consumers’ banking details to withdraw more money.

Vishing and smishing scams

Consumers receive a call or SMS from a scammer pretending to be a bank representative or from other companies. The scammer gets the consumer to disclose personal information such as his or her ID number, address, account number, username, login details, password and PIN.

“This information can also be used to gain unauthorised access to your banking account online,” explained Steyn.

OTP email fraud

Scammers try to get access to the consumer’s email accounts, such as Gmail or Yahoo. “They produce fake login sites that look like Gmail or Yahoo,” said Steyn.

Using phishing to obtain personal information of consumers such as their email username and password, they can access emails. “This helps a criminal to build a social profile of you,” said Steyn. The scammer can also intercept OTPs that are sent to emails.

OTP sim swap fraud

If scammer have the consumer’s username and password, they can easily access their online banking accounts. “They can also contact your service provider to do a sim swap which basically means that they hijack your sim and have access to your SMS,” said Steyn. This will also allow them to access OTPs.  

Online love scams

John Manyike, head of financial education at Old Mutual, warned of this scam where the victim sends money to someone they have not met despite feeling close to them online. Consumers should remain vigilant when using online dating sites, as criminals use those too, said Manyike.

“The ugly truth is that some people are looking to make fast money off lonely and vulnerable people through a variety of scams,” he added. Don’t share financial details with your online partner. Avoid becoming a target to a potential scammer by keeping your money matters private, he said.

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banking  |  phishing  |  scam  |  online  |  digital  |  fraud
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