It seems nothing can keep fraudsters and criminals down – not even a lockdown! Fraud syndicates are taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis. They pretend to be from the banks and ask you for your private banking details. Be vigilant and do not give them ANYTHING – and watch your bank account for unauthorized transactions.
Cyber-criminals have become very inventive, and are capitalizing on lockdown. Here are some of the common scams that they run.
Someone, pretending to be from the bank will call you. They will then ask you to update or verify your details. Very often, they will tell you that they are from the “fraud department” of the bank, that money has fraudulently been withdrawn from your account – and that they urgently need to confirm all your details so that it get returned to you.
By now, you are in a state of panic – and it is at this stage that you would normally give all your details, including your pin.
These criminals are so brazen and so clever, that they will even go as far as to ask you to call them back to confirm that you are actually speaking to someone from the bank. Sophisticated fraudsters will then have that call diverted to the banks call centre, but by then it is too late. They have all your details already.
Bottomline: Your bank will never ask for your account details, password, pin or OTP (one time pin) over the phone. Never. The moment you encounter this, make a note of the number calling you so that you can pass it onto your bank and the police. Then immediately end the call.
This is the email version of the telephone Vishing scam.
Fraudsters will send you emails which claim to come from a bank or a reputable email service provider. The email will sound urgent – telling you that you have to follow their instructions immediately as you have been a victim of fraud. They will ask you to click on the hyperlink you have received. Once you do that – you are taken to a fake website (but you can’t see this) Once they have you on their fake site, they will ask you to share all your details. When they have all your details captured, they can defraud you.Report an email like this to your bank and the policed immediately.
This is the same as the Vishing and Phishing – but here they will send a link to you via sms, but still follow the same method of trying to get your details. We use our phones for everything these days, so we have to be extremely vigilant with our devices when it comes to our private information.
These 3 are probably the most popular scams – but there are so many more. Criminals target people through holiday scams, romantic scams, dating scams, sim swap scams, number porting scams, donation scams, fake vouchers and refunds etc etc. The list goes on and on.
During lockdown people are even being scammed by receiving messages containing links that claim to have the results of Covid-19 tests – that they have never even taken. Yet, curiosity gets the better of people, they click and follow the link. Before they know it money has been taken from their account .
Fraudsters are also asking you to claim a debt relief reward, reverse transactions and transfer your debt review payments into a different account. Sebastien Alexanderson from National Debt Advisors says “ NDA has not, and will not change our bank details. If someone calls you and asks you to put your debt review payments into any other banking account, please get as much information from this person as possible – and inform us about it, so that we may take it up with the police. NDA (and all other reputable, registered debt counsellors) are working with the banks, others in the financial industry and law enforcement agencies to protect you.”
Now, more than ever – people are in financial distress and need money. If it seems too good to be true, it normally is. Be vigilant and don’t click on links that you aren’t 100% sure of . Make your passwords unique and strong. It really is better to be safe than sorry.