The recent exposé on Carte Blanche has once again brought phishing and other online banking scams into the spotlight. Penny Futter, Chief Information Officer at African Bank, says it is a real issue facing financial institutions and the public. She explains that phishing is when criminals use a form of electronic communication to try and extract sensitive information like usernames, passwords and credit card details. “No financial institute or individual is immune. Phishing is one of the leading contributors of fraud,” she says.
Carte Blanche reported that, 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.
Futter says unsuspecting customers honestly believe they are speaking to a credible source from their bank or another trusted institution and disclose sensitive information, often under the pretence of a ‘security protocol’. Once a criminal has a mobile banking pin or password, a fraudulent SIM swop is conducted on the cell phone number and that allows the criminals to transact as if they were the real account holder.
“Although most people are aware of the scams and would not normally give out important information, the problem is these fraudsters are so believable that many people still fall victim to their scheme and then are not even aware that they have been scammed until it is too late.”
She says it is vital to check bank statements regularly and to have limits on accounts. Futter also strongly recommends that all banking customers read the terms and conditions as well as the security protocols in place before agreeing to any online or mobile banking.. “Speak to the bank and make sure you understand what security protocols are in place to protect your money.”