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Cybersecurity alert #2: Consumer tips for addressing banking scams

Safeguard your physical debit and credit cards by keeping them secure and never sharing your card information with anyone.

Image: — © AFP
Image: — © AFP

With banking scams increasing, seemingly at the same rate as digital transactions and increased online presence, consumers need to focus on adopting measures to reduce their risk profile.

As a follow on to a companion article looking at the scams in detail, Trevor Cooke, the online privacy expert at EarthWeb, has told Digital Journal about the methods that consumers can adopt for resisting scammers.

To protect oneself against the threat of banking scams, individuals should adopt proactive measures tailored to combating these threats. Cooke identifies these as:

Phishing Awareness: Cooks says: “Educate yourself and your family members about the signs of phishing attacks and how to recognize suspicious emails or text messages.”

Never click on links or download attachments from unknown senders, and avoid providing personal or financial information in response to unsolicited requests.

ATM Vigilance: When using ATMs, inspect the machine for any signs of tampering or skimming devices. Cover the keypad when entering your PIN to prevent hidden cameras from recording your keystrokes, and regularly monitor your bank statements for any unauthorised transactions.

Card Protection: Safeguard your physical debit and credit cards by keeping them secure and never sharing your card information with anyone. Cooke suggests: “Consider using contactless payment methods or mobile wallets for added security when making transactions in-store or online.”

Social Engineering Awareness: Be wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails, or messages requesting personal or financial information. Verify the identity of the caller or sender before providing any sensitive information, and remember that legitimate banks will never ask you to disclose your full account number or password over the phone or email.

Security Software Installation: Cooked recommends: “Install reputable antivirus and antimalware software on all devices to detect and prevent malicious threats. Regularly update security software to ensure it remains effective against evolving cyber threats.”

Loan Scam Awareness: Cooked advises individuals to be wary of unsolicited loan offers and to research lenders thoroughly before providing any personal or financial information.

“Always verify the legitimacy of loan offers through reputable sources and avoid dealing with unfamiliar lenders promising quick loans,” he cautions.

‘Vishing’ and Number Spoofing Vigilance: When receiving phone calls from unfamiliar or suspicious numbers, Trevor recommends verifying the caller’s identity through official channels.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for verification or hang up and call back using a known, trusted number.” Cooked advises.

Supplier Scam Prevention: To protect against supplier scams, Trevor encourages individuals to scrutinise invoices, contracts, and payment requests for any signs of irregularity. Verify the authenticity of suppliers and payment requests through independent channels to ensure they are legitimate.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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