The ‘new normal’ has seen more customers shift to digital services during the Covid-19 pandemic, but unfortunately, the more the world changes, the craftier these cybercriminals become as they search for new ways to retrieve personal information in order to steal your money.
According to the head of digital banking at First National Bank (FNB), Giuseppe Virgillito, remote access scams are now at the forefront of cybercrime as fraudsters pose as IT department representatives or even network service providers, requesting that you allow them to access your computer in order to help solve a computer problem.
Some of the concerns they generally address (and what you should look out for) include upgrades to your security software, removing viruses or increasing your network speed.
“With remote access scams, fraudsters will call to offer you help to ‘block a fraudulent transaction’ by downloading and installing ‘protective’ software on your devices.
“Once you download the remote access software, they’ll ask you to log into your personal online banking profile,” Virgillito says.
After you have logged in, your device will go blank and you’ll begin to receive (one-time passwords) OTPs to confirm transactions that you didn’t perform. These scammers will then try to convince you that these are fraudulent transactions that you need to sort out immediately.
They will present you with the option of either approving the transaction or transferring the OTPs directly to their company in order for them to block the transactions on your behalf. Once permission is granted for them to take over your computer, these fraudsters are then able to steal your personal and financial information which can be used for their personal gain.
Here are safety tips that customers should implement in order to protect themselves:
- Beware of strange calls – If someone calls you claiming to be from a reputable company and offers to help install software on your computer to protect you, end the call immediately and contact the fraud department yourself.
- Ensure that your computer antivirus software is always up to date.
- Keep your information private – Never disclose sensitive information such as your username, password, card, and PIN details.
- Never share your OTP under any circumstances.
“We encourage customers to use any banking interfaces to immediately report any suspicious transactions on their bank accounts,” Virgillito added.