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Cybersecurity alert #1: Costly scams for consumers to be aware of

Criminals use skimming devices installed on ATMs to steal card information and PINs from unsuspecting users.

Criminal groups are shifting from 'very risky' drug trafficking to lucrative fraud, the EU's chief prosecutor Laura Kovesi says
Criminal groups are shifting from 'very risky' drug trafficking to lucrative fraud, the EU's chief prosecutor Laura Kovesi says - Copyright AFP ATTA KENARE
Criminal groups are shifting from 'very risky' drug trafficking to lucrative fraud, the EU's chief prosecutor Laura Kovesi says - Copyright AFP ATTA KENARE

In an age dominated by digital transactions, the risk of falling victim to a banking scam looms large, threatening the financial security of everyone. Such scams, orchestrated by cybercriminals, have proliferated in recent years, resulting in substantial financial losses for many.

Trevor Cooke, the online privacy expert at EarthWeb, has told Digital Journal about the deceptive tactics utilised by scammers.

In a second part, Cooked offers strategies to assist consumers in protecting their financial security.

What Are The Scams?

Banking scams come in various forms, each with their own set of deceptive tactics aimed at defrauding unsuspecting victims. Some of the most prevalent scams include:

Phishing Attacks: Cybercriminals often use phishing emails or text messages to trick individuals into providing their personal or financial information. These messages typically masquerade as legitimate communications from banks, urging recipients to verify their account details or take urgent action to prevent account closure or unauthorised activity.

ATM Skimming: Criminals use skimming devices installed on ATMs to steal card information and PINs from unsuspecting users. These devices are often placed discreetly on the ATM and can capture card data when individuals insert their cards to make transactions.

Card Cloning: In card cloning scams, fraudsters use stolen card information to create counterfeit cards, which they then use to make unauthorised purchases or withdraw cash from ATMs. Victims may not realise their card information has been compromised until they notice unauthorised transactions on their account statements.

Social Engineering Scams: Cybercriminals use social engineering tactics to manipulate individuals into divulging sensitive information or performing actions that compromise their security. This can include impersonating bank representatives over the phone or email and convincing victims to disclose their account details or transfer funds to fraudulent accounts.

Loan Scams: Loan scams prey on individuals in need of financial assistance, offering false promises of quick loans with minimal requirements. Cybercriminals may create fraudulent websites or send unsolicited emails promising low-interest loans or guaranteed approval, only to steal personal and financial information from unsuspecting victims. For instance, a recent loan scam involved emails offering fast loans with no credit checks, leading recipients to disclose their personal details and fall victim to identity theft.

‘Vishing’ and Number Spoofing Scams: ‘Vishing’ scams involve cybercriminals posing as bank representatives or government officials over the phone to manipulate individuals into disclosing sensitive information or transferring funds to fraudulent accounts. Number spoofing techniques are often used to make the calls appear legitimate by displaying familiar or official phone numbers on caller IDs.

A recent example of a ‘vishing’ scam was when a caller impersonated a bank representative, claiming there had been unauthorised activity on the victim’s account and requesting sensitive information to rectify the issue.

Supplier Scams: Supplier scams target businesses and individuals involved in purchasing goods or services, typically through email or online platforms. Cybercriminals may impersonate legitimate suppliers or create fake invoices, contracts, or payment requests to trick victims into making payments to fraudulent accounts.

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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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