While people and businesses continue to scale the use of digital services in the new normal, cyber criminals also introduce new opportunistic scams. File photo.
While people and businesses continue to scale the use of digital services in the new normal, cyber criminals also introduce new opportunistic scams. File photo.

Consumers and businesses urged to beware of latest fraud – remote access scams

By Opinion Time of article published Jul 5, 2021

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By Giuseppe Virgillito

While people and businesses continue to scale up the use of digital services in the new normal, cybercriminals introduce new opportunistic scams.

Remote access scams are a new fraud modus operandi, which entails scammers posing as IT department representatives from telecoms providers and/or banks to trick victims into relinquishing control of their devices, in order to steal money and/or sensitive information.

Remote access software is becoming a popular way for fraudsters to attempt to defraud consumers and businesses. With remote access scams, fraudsters will call to offer you help to “block a fraudulent transaction” by downloading and installing “protective” software on your devices. Once you download the remote access software, they’ll ask you to log into your personal online banking profile.

Once you’ve logged in, your device will go blank and shortly afterwards you will start receiving one-time pins (OTPs) to confirm transactions that you did not perform. The fraudster then reassures you that these are fraudulent transactions and requests you to either approve or send them the OTPs for them to block the transactions. Meanwhile they are the perpetrator using the OTP to process the fraudulent transaction.

Here are some key safety tips that consumers should practice to protect themselves:

· Beware of strange calls: If someone calls you claiming to be from your bank, and offers to help you install software on your PC to protect you, or asks you to call the bank to release a payment, end the call immediately and contact the relevant fraud department yourself.

· Never share your OTP: FNB and other banks will never ask you to share your OTP under any circumstances. An OTP cannot be used to reverse a transaction.

· Never approve Smart inContact requests for transactions you did not initiate: If you receive a Smart inContact for a transaction you did not initiate, do not select Approve – this will allow the money to be moved out of your account.

· Keep your information private: Never disclose sensitive information such as your username, password, card and PIN details to anyone – not even a bank official.

Through our trusted digital platform, we continue to educate our customers against the latest fraud modus operandi and prevention methods. While we strive to have the best security in place to protect our customers, it’s equally vital for people to work with financial institutions to keep themselves safe from fraud. We encourage our customers to use any of our banking interfaces to immediately report any suspicious transactions on their bank accounts.

Giuseppe Virgillito is head of digital banking at FNB.

* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or of title sites

PERSONAL FINANCE

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