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'Fraudsters don't take a break or a holiday': Expert issues cybercrime warning for Easter break

01 April 2021 - 08:00 By belinda pheto
The head of business risk and cybersecurity at Standard Bank has warned consumers to be extra cautious when transaction online.
The head of business risk and cybersecurity at Standard Bank has warned consumers to be extra cautious when transaction online.
Image: 123RF/GLEB STOCK

Bank scammers are likely to be on the prowl this Easter weekend.

That's according to the head of business risk and cybercrime at Standard Bank, Carolina Reddy, who warned banking consumers to not let their guard down over the upcoming Easter holidays when transacting digitally.

She pointed out that as technology keeps advancing in the banking industry, people have become more exposed to cybercrime.

“During holidays, like Easter, it is easy to become complacent about your banking security and safe banking habits. Fraudsters do not take a break or a holiday, which is why it is important for you not to let your guard down and not only be wallet-wise but cyber-wise,” she said.

She said that though digital solutions brought convenience and functionality, it was also important for consumers to learn safe habits of banking in the digital age — as they had before such technologies existed.

“Consumers who are increasingly banking on digital channels should be aware of digital hygiene factors when banking, as cybercriminals are likely to increase their activities as the adoption of digital channels increases,” Reddy said.

She advised consumers to remove emotion when working online. Customers needed to be measured and responsible when it came to managing their online profile and if they thought they had been compromised they should contact their bank immediately.

Reddy provided a list of the most common online scams and how consumers can protect themselves:

Phishing 

This is a method used by cybercriminals to get personal and banking details, such as ID numbers, bank account numbers and credit or debit card numbers. They send e-mails impersonating companies or individuals asking consumers to click on a link directing to a “spoofed” website, which is a site designed to fool someone into thinking that it is a legitimate website requesting you to verify your details. The cybercriminal uses this information to conduct fraud.

Vishing

Scammers call you, impersonating the bank asking you for personal information and your one-time pin (OTP) “to stop fraud on your account”. Meantime they are using this information to process fraudulent transactions against your card/bank accounts.

Change of banking details scams

This scam occurs when an unsuspecting individual receives notification that one of their suppliers has changed their banking details. The notification may come in the form of a telephone call, an e-mail or a posted letter and will include the details of the new account, asking you to update your records. As a result, any future payments will be diverted into the fraudster’s account.

Standard Bank also provided a list of habits that can be adopted to protect personal and banking information online:

  • Don’t click on suspicious links and delete the e-mail immediately.
  • Never share your one-time pin with anyone (including the bank).
  • If you suspect you have been compromised, contact your bank immediately.
  • Keep your personal information secure and ensure you have set up privacy settings on your social media accounts.
  • Contact the supplier directly to confirm if the bank account details have changed before making any payments.
  • Don’t use the same e-mail address for your banking profile that you use for your social media accounts.
  • Use strong passwords that are difficult to socially engineer.
  • Do not log on to your digital banking on public Wi-Fi.
  • Do not allow anyone to access your computer remotely. Someone from your bank will never ask you for Remote Access Control to update your information.
  • Be wary of spoofed websites which claim to be the legitimate website of an organisation and is set up to mimic the original website.

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