Phishing is fast becoming one of the leading examples of fraud in South Africa- no financial institute or individual is immune.  According to data collected over 8 months in 2018 by the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC), internet banking fraud now makes up 55% of all fraud occurring through banks amounting to a R250 million loss over this period.

 Defined as “when criminals use a form of electronic communication to try and extract sensitive information like usernames, passwords and credit card details”, phishing scams were brought to light again in a recent exposé on Carte Blanche

Although you may be aware of some phishing scams and would not normally give out important information, fraudsters are so believable that unsuspecting customers honestly believe they are speaking to a credible source from their bank or another trusted institution. By the time they realise they have been scammed, it is in most cases too late because they would have already disclosed personal information.

 As a result, it’s important to, now more than ever, note and apply these tips in ensuring your information is protected and you do not become a victim of phishing.

  • It’s important to regularly check bank statements and to have limits on accounts.
  • Read the terms and conditions as well as the security protocols in place before agreeing to any online or mobile banking.
  • When shopping online, use only reputable companies who have robust security and authentication policies in place to avoid being scammed.
  • Don’t click on links or icons in unsolicited emails. Do not even reply to these emails. Delete them immediately.
  • Type in the URL for your bank in the internet browser if you need to access your bank’s website. Check that you are on the real site before using any personal information. If you think that you might have been compromised, contact your bank immediately. Create complicated passwords that are not easy to decipher and change them often.
  • 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 and never access your banking site on a public WiFi network.
  • Don’t give out any personal details if someone phones you. A bank will never phone you to ask for your pin. Always keep your online banking login details confidential.

If you do get caught and believe your information has been compromised, change your internet banking credentials immediately and advise the bank accordingly.

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