Look out for these scams in the banking sector


05/07/2018 Remote banking is a convenience a lot of us wouldn’t want to give up. Statistics indicate that more and more South African users are getting comfortable enough to rely on remote banking to manage their finances. Unfortunately, the number of cyber criminals set on exploiting unsuspecting consumers is also on the rise.

In the last few months, the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) has issued warnings to consumers to be on the lookout for banking scams. Although most of the scams aren’t necessarily new and have been exposed in the media for some time now, the number of consumers continuously falling victim to them is alarming.


Phishing is an attempt by fraudsters to obtain sensitive information from clients. It starts with an unrequested email disguised as correspondence from your bank asking you to verify your details or other confidential information relating to your account/s. The email will contain a link to a spoof site that is almost identical to that of your bank. Thereafter, you will be requested to enter your personal details, which are then sent to whoever is attempting to defraud you, giving them access to your accounts and funds.

Vishing (voice phishing)

Vishing is when a fraudster pretending to be a consultant or agent from your bank calls you and tries to manipulate or convince you to reveal sensitive information.

SMishing (SMS phishing)

This works similarly to phishing - you will receive an SMS disguised as correspondence from your bank instructing you to click through to a site for an important update or to verify your information. From there you’ll be asked to input your details which will give the fraudster access to your card/account. In some cases, clicking the link can infect your phone with a virus or malware designed by fraudsters to access personal data on your device.

Here’s what you can do to avoid being a victim

  • If you receive correspondence that seems suspicious or requests highly sensitive information, contact your bank as soon as you can and verify the sender and contents of the messages/calls.
  • If you have clicked on the link then check that the website is secure and the URL (website address) is the one you usually use to visit your bank’s site. Again, if you aren’t sure, call your bank’s customer care department and verify this.
  • Never download apps or software from unrequested SMSs. 
  • After you find out that the addresses are not legitimate, block them immediately.
  • Familiarise yourself with your bank’s methods of communication and the number or email address they typically use.

In addition, check your bank statement and notifications regularly to make sure your finances haven’t been fiddled with. There are certainly many more scams out there, so be vigilant and cautious when sharing sensitive information. Remember, if it looks or feels suspicious, it probably is! So always take the time to call your bank and make sure.

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