keep your money safe from scammers02/11/2020
Protecting your banking information is an essential part of protecting your money. If you’re not aware of the risks, it can be easy for criminals to convince you to share sensitive information.
To try and get access to your money, criminals work hard to trick you into sharing information with them. Although methods may differ, the goal will be to convince you that they are who they say they are. They do this to gain your trust and to convince you that it's safe to share your information with them. They may pretend to be from your bank, a cellphone network provider or even from the government.
Here are 4 common cons, and how to protect yourself against them.
Many victims are caught off guard with this tactic. A fraudster phones you, pretending to be a bank official or service provider. Their aim is to mislead you into giving them confidential information. They might claim you have outstanding debts. They may even threaten you with arrest if you don’t co-operate and pay back money.
Your bank or service provider will never threaten you with arrest. If something looks or feel suspicious, hang up. Contact your bank or service provider and check if it was a legitimate call. Chances are, it won’t be – banks will never ask you for personal information over the phone.
SMS phishing or 'smishing' is when criminals send you a text claiming to be from your bank (or another institution you recognise and trust). In the text they ask for personal information, such as your PIN number.
They could also send you a text that includes a link. Fraudulent links could take you to a ‘spoof’ website (a replica of a trusted website) that asks for your sensitive banking information.
This is an email scam where an official-looking email contains a link to a spoofed website, and asks for sensitive banking information. This information goes straight to criminals who can use it access your real bank account. To avoid these scams:
- Check the email address. Often, while these emails might look like they come from an institution, the email address is a giveaway (it could be a gmail address, or may not include the name of the business or institution)
- Check for spelling errors, or errors in the company name or logo
- Be very careful about what links you click on in an email. If you need to visit your bank’s website, don’t click on a link sent from an email. Instead, type the URL into your browser, or login to your app
- If you aren’t sure about an email, check with the institution directly
4. Social media scams
While platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram are fun for connecting with friends and family, they also attract criminals looking for information.
To protect yourself, check that your privacy settings only allow your friends and connections to view your online profiles. Criminals can use public social media information to make their fraudulent SMS, phone call or email seem more trustworthy. For instance, if someone knows your middle name and your birthdate, it may convince you that they are from a trusted institution.
Be on high alert if someone contacts you on social media to ask you for a favour or for money. To convince you to part with your money or personal information, criminals may use different strategies. For example, sending you a forceful or threatening message or a caring and sincere message.
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