Fraudsters are never on lockdown. In fact, many of them are capitalising on the Covid-19 crisis. Here are the risks you need to be aware to avoid becoming another statistic.
We are all adjusting to a new reality in which we’re working from home, practicing social distancing and surviving the realities of lockdown. Unfortunately, cyber criminals are adjusting to this new reality as well – and they’re taking advantage of it.
During times of crisis, people are anxious, desperate for news and out of their normal routines – all perfect conditions for cyber attackers to strike.
Covid-19 related attacks are on the rise
People change their patterns and behaviour during a crisis, and this gives cyber attackers a huge opportunity that they can leverage.
Because we’re all desperate to stay up to date, we are more likely to open links and attachments from sources before verifying them.
Cyber criminals are making widespread use of Covid-19 related themes to get people to visit web domains, download apps and open emails and attachments – some of which carry malware and other threats.
Stay vigilant and ensure you have up-to-date anti-virus software on your laptop or PC. If you are working from a personal device and not exclusively from a work device, there are free anti-virus software versions available online.
How Phishing, Smishing and Vishing is targeting you
Cyber criminals are currently using the following scams:
Phishing: Fraudsters pose as real companies to try and trick you into sharing sensitive information via an emailed attachment or link. For example, scammers posing as SARS agents offering Covid-19 tax benefits and requesting your banking details. Delete any suspicious emails immediately. You will never be asked to provide sensitive information online by legitimate businesses.
Smishing: This is similar to phishing, but the information is requested via SMS. No legitimate business will ask you to share sensitive information via SMS. Delete any suspicious texts immediately.
Vishing: Cyber criminals pose as agents from businesses and brands that you deal with in order to persuade you to transfer money over the phone or share your one time pin (OTP) over the phone. Always verify any unexpected phone requests by ending the call and phoning the business yourself directly. Do not give any personal information over the phone. Legitimate brands will not request you to do so.
Mobile phone risks and how to avoid them
Our personal devices offer a number of ways for cyber criminals to target us:
Lost or stolen phones: You lose your phone (or it’s stolen) and you immediately report it to your service provider. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what a cyber criminal was waiting for. With the phone reported as missing, a fraudster can contact your service provider posing as you and ask them to port your number to their SIM. To protect yourself, set up an access PIN or password on your phone, and never save your usernames and passwords on your device – particularly for your bank account and banking app. If your phone is lost or stolen, contact us immediately as well.
Cell phone banking fraud: If a fraudster can convince your service provider to change your SIM card so that they can assume your number, they can use your number to access banking services on their phone and transfer funds from your account. Never share your ATM pin, card number or Customer Selected Pin with anyone, and don’t use the same pin for different things. If you suddenly stop receiving calls or texts, contact your service provider immediately – someone may have transferred your number to their SIM card.
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