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Slick Cyber Fraud Scams Abound: Be Vigilant!

Jun 28, 2023 | General | 0 comments

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The marvel of internet technology has brought about innovative and convenient ways to conduct financial transactions to the extent that we rely heavily on the internet daily for various aspects of our lives.

While this convenience brings numerous benefits, it also exposes you to cyber risks that can jeopardise your hard-earned money and have potentially disastrous implications for your finances and lifestyle goals.

According to the SAFPS (South African Fraud Prevention Service), there has been a 600% increase in incidents reported by their members in 2022, when compared to 2018.

The biggest danger is thinking that you will not fall prey to an internet scam, because it would be easy to spot. Right? Not so.

Real life examples of people who were hoodwinked include a seasoned mortgage originator, who was conned into sharing her bank details with a fraudster who then withdrew R300 000 that was available via her access bond, that was linked to her current account.

Another more recent example is that of a retired bank manager who shared his bank PIN with a fraudster posing as a bank employee who called him to alert him to fraudulent transactions on his bank account. The fraudster said he urgently needed the PIN to stop the transactions. In this case, the panicked bank manager lost R60 000.

Here are some of the ways in which con artists can gather sensitive information from you:

Email Phishing is a Stealthy Threat

One of the most common cyber risks is email phishing, where criminals impersonate legitimate organisations to trick you into divulging sensitive information. These emails often appear authentic, complete with logos and professional language, aiming to deceive you into providing your personal details or login credentials. 

Always exercise caution when opening emails, especially those requesting sensitive information. Verify the sender’s identity before clicking on any attachments and check for grammatical errors or language inconsistencies. Never click on any links emails that you receive, unless you are absolutely sure of the legitimacy of the sender.

Confidence Tricksters Abuse Your Trust

Confidence tricksters are crafty individuals who exploit your trust to manipulate you into making unwise financial decisions. They often employ persuasive tactics, posing as financial advisors or offering lucrative investment opportunities. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

Be sceptical of unsolicited offers of any kind. Thoroughly research any investment offers and preferably consult a trusted financial professional for advice. It is crucial to verify the credibility of the individuals or organisations with which you have dealings, even when it seems that communication comes from legitimate sources.

False Websites and Email Interceptions

Fraudsters create fake websites that closely resemble legitimate ones, tricking users into entering their personal or financial information. Always double-check the website’s URL, look for secure connections (https://), and avoid clicking on suspicious links. 

Additionally, be wary of email interceptions, where hackers gain unauthorised access to your email account to monitor your communications. Regularly update your email account’s password and enable multi-factor authentication for an added layer of security on all websites where you transact.

Don’t Fall for Impersonations

Impersonating your bank is a popular tactic employed by cybercriminals to gain access to your financial information. They may send you emails or messages pretending to be your bank, requesting urgent action or verification. 

Remember, reputable financial institutions will never ask for your login credentials, PINs, or other sensitive information via email or text or even over the phone. If you receive such requests, contact your bank directly through a verified channel to confirm its legitimacy.

Credit Card Fraud: Shield Your Transactions

Credit card fraud is widespread and remains a persistent threat. One way in which cybercriminals can steal your card details and use them for unauthorised purchases is to scan your card details when you pay at a restaurant or shop. To obtain your PIN, fraudsters collaborate with a colleague who peers over your shoulder to watch your input. 

It is a good idea to shield the card machine with your hand or your body when making a payment or when drawing money at an ATM.

To safeguard against credit card fraud, monitor your statements regularly for any unfamiliar transactions and report them to your card issuer immediately. 

Avoid sharing your card details over insecure websites and only make online purchases from reputable retailers and secure platforms. Many banks these days offer the ability to create virtual cards which you can use to make payments online which is safer than using your main/physical credit card.

Exercise Caution with EFT Payments

Transferring funds to the wrong bank account can have serious consequences, especially when large sums of money are involved, such as purchasing a car, a home, or making investments. 

Never rely on information provided via email, as it may be compromised. Fraudsters have been known to intercept email communications between for example,  conveyancers and their clients. They then change the bank details and send you the email containing their own bank details.

Always double-check the recipient’s bank account details before initiating any transfer of money. Verify the account number, the recipient’s name, and contact the recipient independently to confirm the details. 

Vigilance in High-Stakes Transactions

When engaging in significant financial transactions, such as buying a car, a home, or making investments, it is crucial to exercise heightened vigilance. Take your time to research and verify the legitimacy of the parties involved. Be wary of any requests to rush the process or to deviate from standard procedures. Remember, your financial well-being depends on your due diligence.

In a Nutshell…

By adopting these cybersecurity measures, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with email phishing, confidence trickster scams, fake websites, email interceptions, bank impersonations, credit card payment fraud, and transferring funds to the wrong bank account. 

Stay informed, remain vigilant, and always prioritise the security of your financial assets. If you have any concerns or questions, we are here to assist you.



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