Banking scams: You've heard of phishing, but what about vishing and smishing?

Digital technology has provided new ways for criminals to commit digital banking crimes, warns the SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric).

New data released by Sabric shows that more than half (55%) of the gross losses due to crime reported to the SA Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) occur online.

“Gross losses” is a term used in the banking industry to refer to the total loss to the consumer as well as the bank. It, therefore, includes instances where the bank had refunded the client.

The scam of phishing has become familiar to consumers over the years, but the versions called vishing and smishing might not yet be.

Phishing is where emails are used to request people to click on a link in the email to verify or "update" contact details or other sensitive information.

The link will direct them to a website. This website has, however, been designed to fool users into thinking it is legitimate.

The purpose is to obtain sensitive information.

Vishing is where a fraudster phones his or her victim, posing as a bank official or service provider. The fraudster manipulates the target into disclosing confidential information by leading the victim to believe that he or she is speaking to the bank or service provider.

The information obtained in this fraudulent manner is then used to defraud the victim.

Smishing is short for "SMS phishing". It is when someone tries to trick you into giving them your private information via SMS.

In this way users are tricked into downloading malware onto their mobile device.

It is then used to fraudulently obtain sensitive information by sending out text messages asking users to call a number or click on a link.

Tips from Sabric to protect against phishing, vishing and smishing:

  • Check that you are on your bank's genuine website before inputting any personal information.
  • Check for a closed green padlock next to the URL of the website.
  • Do not click on links or icons in unsolicited emails.
  • Never reply to these emails. Delete them immediately.
  • Always type in the URL or domain name for your bank in the address bar.

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