Online banking scams have increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. New types of scams continue to emerge in which fraudsters lure you into providing confidential info – often via email, SMS, phone call, malware or remote access. Anyone can be a target, banks warn.
Financial institutions continue to update their systems to stay ahead of criminal activity; however, it is ultimately up to consumers to be proactive around potential online criminal activity. These types of activity will often see criminals using psychological tricks to scam consumers.
An example would be a trick where criminals get people to pay for holiday accommodation that doesn’t exist. This scam sees criminals preying on people’s anxiety about booking a last-minute holiday.
Victims are lured with what seems to be a really good deal, pay for the holiday in full, and cannot make further arrangements with the agent who has disappeared.
“An offer that seems too good to be true should make you suspicious,” warns the South African Banking Risk Information Centre.
Standard Bank has picked up on three scams that are becoming more common:
1. Fake holiday deal scams
• Fraudsters aim to exploit you by advertising incredible holidays or timeshare deals that turn out to be fake.
• The offers are often heavily discounted or are on special for a limited time only, to pressure you into buying quickly.
• Once you’ve made the payment, the fraudsters will have your money and your credit card details – and you’ll never get the holiday you paid for.
2. Fake goods scam
• Fraudsters aim to scam you by advertising great deals that are very appealing.
• They’ll put you under pressure to quickly make a full or part payment to secure the deal – But the offer is fake, and you’ll never receive the goods.
3. Fake vehicles scam
• This scam is similar to the others in that the fraudster will advertise an incredible deal on a car that doesn’t exist.
• They will pressure you into paying a deposit or the full asking rate by claiming there are other interested buyers or that the sale is urgent due to sickness or emigration.
“Be wary of offers that seem too good to be true and sellers that put pressure on you to make hasty payments,” Standard Bank warned.
It could be a scam if…
- What you are offered or promised sounds too good to be true.
- The offer takes you by surprise, or the prize relates to a competition you never entered.
- You’re given limited time to confirm your details or win the prize, catching you off guard.
- You receive the information via a free email address (like Hotmail, Aim, Yahoo or Gmail).
- You are promised large sums of money for very little or no effort on your part.
- You’re asked to provide money upfront, for whatever reason, to receive the money or prize.
- You’re asked to confirm personal or account details via a hyperlink, icon or attachment in an email or over the phone.