Phishing is fast becoming one of the leading examples of fraud. It makes up 80% of malicious software attacks and ranks third on the list of fraudulent activities, behind identity theft and credit card disputes.
What is phishing?
Phishing is when criminals use a form of electronic communication, like SMS or email, to try and extract sensitive information like usernames, passwords and credit card details. Clever social engineering tactics are regularly used by criminals to trick their victims into disclosing their banking login credentials, often under the pretence of a ‘security protocol’. Unsuspecting customers honestly believe they are speaking to a credible source from their bank and disclose sensitive information.
Once a criminal has your mobile banking pin or password, a fraudulent sim swop is conducted on the cell phone number. This allows the criminals to transact as if they were the real account holder. Once the sim has been deactivated, no notifications of these transactions will be received by the victim. This makes the fraud difficult to detect.
Although most people are aware of the scams and would not normally give out important information, these fraudsters are constantly coming up with new ways to dupe unsuspecting people. They are so clever and believable that many people still fall victim to their schemes. They are not even aware that they have been scammed until it is too late.
Useful advice to prevent you from becoming a victim of phishing:
- Use a clever pin: Always protect your mobile device and personal information by using a pin. Ensure that your phone, computer and all other mobile devices are password protected. This is your strongest safeguard against being scammed. Never use your birthday or that of a family member, or part of your cell phone number as the pin. It is just too easy for criminals to work out. Rather choose an unusual pin code that only you would remember.
- Consider protecting your passwords using any one of the public and freely available password managers.
- Never carry unnecessary personal information in your wallet or purse.
- Never access your banking site on a public WiFi network.
- Never give out any personal details if someone phones you. A bank will never phone you to ask for your pin number.
- Ensure you have the latest antivirus and antispyware software installed on your cell phone, computers and other mobile devices.
- Regularly verify whether details received from your cell phone notifications are correct. Should any details appear suspicious, immediately make contact with your bank.
- Never log onto your bank’s website from a link in an email or SMS. Rather type in the full web address yourself.
- Be cautious when shopping online. Only use vendors who offer a second form of identification to avoid being scammed.
In the event that you do get caught and believe your information has been compromised, change your internet banking credentials immediately and advise the bank accordingly.