Criminals will go to great lengths to steal your money - but the more aware you are, the less likely it will be that you will fall prey to internet or email phishing scams.
While the internet can make life very convenient with services such as online banking and shopping, there is always the underlying security risk that criminals will abuse the internet to gain access to your personal information - such as banking details - and use this to steal your money.
Here are some scams that you need to be aware of:
Fraudsters often send out emails claiming to be from a reputable organisation - commonly known as ‘phishing’ - many of which look very authentic as they make use of the Avios logo and corporate colours to convince you that the email is legitimate.
Often, the content of the email makes reference to your account being suspended, and the only way you can stop this suspension is to click on the link supplied and update your personal details. Although this link does not link to the real Avios Card website, these websites are usually designed to look exactly like the Avios Card site, and it becomes difficult to differentiate between this site and the real site.
Steps to avoid being a victim of phishing attacks
Although we have a number of security measures in place to protect you, your awareness is the key to avoid being a victim of phishing attacks, so bear the following in mind when you receive an email claiming to be from Avios Card:
- Never reply to these emails, and don’t click on any links
- Never provide your personal details such as your PIN or account details via email or on any links within these emails. We already have information like your ID number, cell number and email address and will never ask for them via email
- Never navigate to our site using a link from an email - always type in the address (www.avioscard.co.za)
- If you receive eStatements - read this info to make sure that you are opening a legitimate statement
- Delete spam emails immediately. Even a request to remove your email address from the mailing list will confirm to the fraudsters that your email account is active, and could open you up to more attacks
- Never open an email attachment unless you know who sent the message
- Use the latest browsers which come with filters that alert you when you visit a website that contains potentially unsafe website
- Avios Card will never send you a letter or e-mail requesting you to complete your personal details by clicking on a link in an e-mail
Cellphone Banking Scam
Watch out for this cellphone scam that enables fraudsters to conduct a SIM swop and gain access to your accounts.
The Cellphone Banking scam is particularly scary because it enables fraudsters to personally receive your Random Verification Numbers and transfer money out of your account without you even being aware of it.
Essentially what happens is:
- You will receive an SMS from your “bank” stating that there is a problem with your account, and a consultant will be in contact with you shortly
- A few minutes thereafter you will receive a call, and the consultant will ask you to confirm some details, and ask you for additional information such as your account number, the type of phone you use, and recent dialed numbers
- They then perform a SIM swop at your cellphone provider which enables them to receive all your banking alerts - allowing them to transfer money to themselves
Once you become aware of the fact that your cellphone is not working, the money will have been removed from your account.
We are all aware of phishing - and think twice before we click on any links in emails that could compromise our personal information. Unfortunately, fraudsters have very innovative ways of getting to your money - and Vishing is one of these ways.
As opposed to the normal phishing procedure where you sent an email requesting you to click through to a page (that often looks exactly like the logon page of your bank but is under a fake URL), Vishing requires you to phone a telephone number to update your details or to avoid having your account closed.
When you phone the number, an automated recording (or a real person) will take your call (using the name of the company concerned) and ask you to verify your information for security purposes. Often this includes your account number and your identity number. Alternatively, they call you directly posing as a consultant from the bank - and ask you the same questions. Once they have the information, they often put you on hold while they attempt to access your account and your money.
As a rule of thumb: don’t click on that link and don’t call that phone number. If you are concerned and would like to speak to your bank, contact them via the usual channels. Phone the call centre using a verified number. Type in their website address directly - don’t click on URLs.