Be safe when banking on mobile devices
A suspect said to be a key player in a recent spate of SIM swap fraud has been arrested. Reports stated that Media 24 CEO, Esmare Weideman, was one of the victims of this spate of SIM swap crime where large amounts of money was stolen from victims’ accounts.
As mobile banking continues to surge, customers need to make sure that they are aware of the safety measures that they need to take to ensure they do not compromise their personal banking details.
“Customers must be aware of the fraud mechanisms used by fraudsters. The first step in the safekeeping of personal banking information is to never disclose a login PIN, user ID, Password or One Time PIN (OTP) to anyone,” says Dione Sankar, Head of cellphone banking and messaging at FNB.
Sankar said fraudsters continually try new approaches to gain confidential banking information that will allow them access to defraud a customer via mobile or online banking channels.
In cases involving SIM swaps, scammers contact the network operator and reassigns the cellphone number to a new SIM in order to gain access to confidential information, e.g. OTP (One Time PIN) SMS.
“Usually they impersonate the customer and will call the network operator to report a lost or stolen SIM. This will result in a new SIM being activated with the customer's number. The old SIM will be de-activated and all messages, including messages containing personal info, will be sent to the fraudster.
She added that a fraudster could call, claiming to be from the mobile service provider. They might request that the phone be switched off for maintenance purposes.
Type of scams used by fraudsters
Phising is one of the common methods scammers use to trick customers to divulge information via email.
“These messages will look like an e-mail message or pop-up window that includes official-looking bank logos. It can also like an e-mail posed as a security alert that request personal information or an e-mail posed as a rewards statement that request personal information,” said Sankar.
With smishing, customers are tricked into exposing information via SMS.
“A random SMS sent by a fraudster suggesting that the customers’ details have been compromised and the bank needs the personal information to stop the fraud,” said Sankar.
In cases involving vishing, customers are called and tricked into divulging their information through a random SMS stating that a bank official will contact you to verify or update your details.
“The latest vishing trend includes con-artists claiming to be South African Police Officers. Instead of an SMS stating that the customers will be contacted by a bank official, customers are being threatened into providing their personal details or face being arrested,” said Sankar.
Tips to prevent you from becoming a victim
Never reply to the number that is provided in the SMS from a random sender requesting personal bank information e.g. PIN information, password information.
Never give out confidential information via E-mail, SMS or on a call.
Never store your PIN and passwords on your cell phone.
Change your cellphone banking PIN and online password on a regular basis.