Wise Up Don't Be a Scam Victim
Bona|December 2016

Online banking makes your life easier, as does having a cellphone and an ATM card. You also shop, book holidays and even date over the Internet; it’s all convenient. But, with scams on the increase, to stay safe you need to be savvy.

Françoise Gallet

Your full names, address, cellphone number, date of birth, ID number and bank account details (credit card number, banking passwords and PIN numbers) are like gold to cyber criminals, warns Jacky Fick, executive head of forensic services at Cell C.

Typically, fraudsters fish for this information by sending deceitful emails (phishing), SMSs (smishing) or resorting to a call (vishing) that looks and sounds legitimate, and has some kind of ‘hook’ to cloud your judgement. If you fall for their bait and share your personal and banking details, fraudsters can wreak havoc in your life. They can open store accounts or buy luxury cars in your name, steal funds from your bank accounts or use them in money laundering activities, implicating you in the crime, explains Roy Retief, operations manager of the Southern African Fraud Prevention Services (SAFPS).

A healthy suspicion of all emails, calls and SMSs requesting personal information is a good first-line defence, suggests Jacky. Fraudsters are also relentless in their efforts to bypass security hurdles. The SIM swap scam is a good example, explains Jacky.

Once you unsuspectingly share your sensitive personal and banking information in a phishing, smishing or vishing probe, fraudsters can approach your mobile operator with a request for a SIM swap, pretending to be you. If they succeed, they can intercept the One Time Passwords (OTPs) sent to your cellphone as a banking security measure and take control through your cellphone banking. And, because you gave the fraudster your personal details, you’re ultimately liable for your loss. So, Kalyani Pillay, chief executive officer of the South African Banking 

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