Be wary of scammers, banking sector warns


The banking industry has warned customers to always be vigilant of banking scams, especially when prompted for personal information.

This after some members of the public raised red flags that they had been contacted via email or through sms notifications asking for their account details. 

In an email to Fin24, the reader who had been contacted, said they had received daily emails from a Standard Bank e-account, which prompted them to open an attachment with their ID number.

"I closed my Standard bank account four years ago. I can block the messages on my PC, which warns me it's a virus, but do not know how to block on my phone. I also receive emails from ABSA, not as regularly as Standard Bank," the reader said in an email.

Standard Bank spokesperson Ross Linstrom said while he could not comment on the authenticity of the notifications without seeing the communication for himself, customers should never process transactions on their devices if they are not sure of the security of their banking information.

"The rule of thumb is if you’re not sure, don’t continue with the transaction. Phishing is a practice where fraudsters send out misinformation to solicit banking information for their own gain. Monitor your account regularly. Never open attachments or open links that you are unsure of," said Linstrom.

South African Banking Risk Information Centre CEO Kalyani Pillay told Fin24 that based on the details, it was likely that the individual was the victim of a phishing scam.

"From the information provided, it is likely that the reader could be the recipient of phishing emails. Phishing is a prevalent modus operandi used by criminals to harvest personal and confidential information then used to defraud bank clients," said Pillay.

Pillay said phishing emails requested that users click on a link in the email which will direct users to a “spoofed” website, which is a site designed to fool users into thinking that it is legitimate to obtain, verify or update contact details or other sensitive financial information.

Pillay said a bank branch will never ask a client for their pin, password or personal details which they use to access their accounts.

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