Old mutual has warned that to prevent becoming a victim of fraud it is vital to be wary especially when using transactional, card-based accounts that are linked to savings or cheque accounts.

According to the Office of the Banking Ombudsman, these transactional accounts are among the most used accounts, making them a prime target for scammers.

“Scammers are continually finding new ways to gain access to personal banking information and use it to defraud unsuspecting customers. So, banks need to continually upgrade their security systems, while consumers need to be informed and alert,” indicated Vijay Naidoo, Chief Information Officer of Old Mutual Finance.

The more informed you are about the possible risks of digital banking; the more likely you are to reduce the possibility of your personal information being compromised.

 

Old Mutual warned that consumers should constantly be on the lookout for phishing and vishing scams in particular – these are the most common electronic methods scammers use to obtain the information they need to empty accounts.

Wikipedia defines phishing as a type of social engineering where an attacker sends a fraudulent (“spoofed”) message designed to trick a human victim into revealing sensitive information to the attacker or to deploy malicious software on the victim’s infrastructure like ransomware. Phishing attacks have become increasingly sophisticated and often transparently mirror the site being targeted, allowing the attacker to observe everything while the victim is navigating the site, and transverse any additional security boundaries with the victim.

As of 2020, phishing is by far the most common attack performed by cyber-criminals, with the FBI‘s Internet Crime Complaint Centre recording over twice as many incidents of phishing than any other type of computer crime.

Things you can do to spot a potential phishing attempt:

  • It may contain a financial institution’s logo, but its email address ends in ‘@gmail.com’ or another domain that offers easy access to register addresses. A credible financial service provider would never use an address like this. It will always use its registered domain name.
  • Look out for emails in your inbox that invite you to click on a link to update information.
  • Be wary of emails that use scare tactics or urge you to respond quickly to avoid an account being closed, hacked or frozen.

 

“Many phishing emails are designed to spark anxiety and panic. They often state that a suspicious transaction has taken place on your account or that an account will be closed if immediate action is not taken.

“The number one rule is simple: do not open emails that appear suspicious and do not respond to emails that contain threats. Reputable companies would never send those types of emails. Delete the message, or phone the bank or business – use a number you know or have saved – and check if they sent the mail,” said Naidoo.

Vishing

Vishing involves scammers making contact personally by phone or via a pre-recorded message to get you to release personal information.

A typical example is a phone call from someone pretending to be working at a bank or company you use and asking you for information to update their records or fix a problem with your account.

“Usually, the tricksters will ask for login details to fix the problem, or they will ask for a new payment to be made. The safest thing to do is to end the call immediately and phone the customer service line to find out if it was a genuine request.” Says Naidoo.

Another approach is for the fraudsters to pass on information like payment notifications to entice you to click on the attached file or follow a link.

“Keeping customers’ accounts and personal information safe and confidential is a priority,” said Naidoo. This follows the POPIA act deadline to be introduced later this year.

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