Standard Bank’s tips on how not to get caught by scammers

Consumers banking on digital channels should be aware of digital hygiene factors when banking

07 September 2021 - 08:00
The growth of digital banking has seen exponential growth over the years in Africa.
The growth of digital banking has seen exponential growth over the years in Africa.
Image: Supplied/Standard Bank

Every expert or consumer can attest to the fact that digital banking is important now more than. Digital banking combines online and mobile banking services to give users a variety of ways to transfer money, budget, save and invest at a simple touch of a button.

Digital banking in Africa has seen exponential growth over the years as consumers become more tech-savvy and electrical devices more advanced. 

Digital scamming in SA

A rise in this postmodern way of banking spiked due to Covid-19 as many moved towards the digital space, be it purchasing household items or performing daily transactions. 

Digital scamming has also increased as a result and consumers using digital platforms to bank should be conscious of their every move. 

“Consumers 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,” says Carolina Reddy, head of business risk and cybercrime at Standard Bank. 

This shortcoming is digital scamming, also known as internet fraud. 

Top three ways fraudsters use to gain access to your information 

Your personal information including pins, passwords, ID numbers or account details should be kept secret. 

  • Vishing is one of the most common and easiest scams. Fraudsters will ask for your personal and bank details over the phone and use those to access your account to make illegal transactions. Similar to vishing, smishing aims at accessing your personal information, but through an SMS. 
  • During a smishing attempt, scammers may call you and claim to be the bank’s employee luring you into sharing bank account details, pins and OTPs, which can be used to access your account. 
  • Phones are also becoming our modern-day hard drive and a medium to access different clouds or drives. A stolen phone can be a haven for fraudsters as they can access your personal and banking information. 

What to do next: If your phone is stolen, contact the bank immediately to deactivate your banking app and block your account.

How your email and desktop can be used to gain your sensitive data

We often receive unsolicited emails from unknown emails claiming to be correspondence from a reliable organisation. These emails may be from someone masquerading as a trusted company who tricks their victim into revealing sensitive information to them. This is known as phishing

The email and hacking scam can lead to a stressful period as well as monetary disputes with friends, family and business partners. Using this scam, fraudsters could hack your email address through malware viruses, then send emails to your contact list asking for money, donations or payment to your business partners' "updated banking details". 

Quick fixes: Change your password immediately and enable multi-factor authentication. Then scan your computer for viruses and malware. 

Using the keylogging software scam fraudsters can install software that records every touch on the keyboard making it easier to have your logins and passwords. This software is common in internet cafes, and you can involuntarily install it when you open unsolicited email attachments or hyperlinks and also, via memory sticks or malicious websites. 

What to avoid: Internet cafes, allowing people you don't know to use your computer, opening emails, attachments or hyperlinks from unknown sources. 

To do daily: Scan your PC regularly with antivirus software.

Don't rush to make purchases and payments online

  • Fake deals are common online and many have fallen victim to the fake holiday deal scam. This is where incredible holiday or share-purchase advertisements turn out to be fake after you pay a special offer for "a limited time only"
  • The fake goods scam is similar. Customers who are victims of this tactic never receive their goods after making full or part payments.
  • The fake vehicles scam is the most common. The internet is filled with car dealerships and marketplaces. The fraudster will advertise a not-to-be-missed deal on a car that doesn’t exist. You will then be pressured into making a deposit citing other interested buyers or other reasons for the urgency. 

Report it: If you receive a suspicious email containing links, forward it to for shutdown.

Business partner or supplier bank account details have changed

Impersonation is the key in this scam as fraudsters manipulate you into thinking a business partner or supplier’s banking details have changed and immediate payment be made to the “new” bank account. 

Protect yourself: Always verify that any change to banking details is legitimate by calling the business’s official phone number.

Digital banking is a revolutionary financial solution. It saves a lot of time and advances the human race, however with every technological advantage there are shortcomings.

This article was paid for by Standard Bank.