Important scam information
While you’re doing your thing, and doing your best to protect yourself from scams, crafty criminals are constantly coming up with new ways to con us. That’s why we’re doing our thing to help – by keeping you up to date with some of the latest scams and offering helpful tips on protecting yourself and your loved ones.
Car recall scam
In November 2020, a new vehicle recall scam was uncovered and the Insurance Crime Bureau (ICB) issued a warning following a significant increase in cases.
How the scammers get away with it:
They contact unsuspecting car owners, claiming to be officials from the manufacturer and try to convince you that your car is being recalled due to a serious malfunction. They also promise to replace your car.
After the call, they send an email, asking to collect your car. If you agree, they arrive and tow your car away. You’ll likely call the dealership for an update, only to discover that your car has been stolen – and you have fallen victim to a scam.
Tips to protect yourself:
- Ensure the recall is legitimate – call the manufacturer and/or dealership directly.
- Share limited personal information on social media and on the phone. Criminals use this information to create a profile of their victims.
- Practice scepticism when speaking to strangers – double check their credentials: do they actually work for the company they claim to represent?
- Immediately report any suspicious calls or any other communication to the authorities, the manufacturer and/or the dealership.
We face a massive amount of cybercrime in South Africa, and in lockdown the problem worsened significantly. According to cyber security provider, Kaspersky, devices affected by cyberattacks increased from under 30 000 daily to 310 000 on 18 March 2020. And while lockdown has eased a lot since then, heightened vigilance remains critical.
We look at some of the most common cyber threats out there:
- Identity theft – this is when cybercriminals ‘steal’ your identity and pose as you to gain benefits like loans and credit.
- Phishing – this involves the use of malicious links and attachments in emails. When you open the link or attachment, scammers can steal information like your login details and use these to access your financial accounts. Delete all suspicious emails immediately.
- Ransomware – Ransomware can easily be installed when you open suspicious links and attachments. Once you do, hackers can encrypt files on your computer. The hackers then often demand payment in crypto currency, like Bitcoin, before they will return your files.
Did you know that we offer Cyber Insurance to protect you against several cyber risks? Find out more here.
To further protect you against cybercrime, we offer these tips:
- Keep up to date with the latest scams and learn more about them through reputable sources like bank and insurance company websites.
- Create strong passwords and have different ones for different sites – your dog’s name followed by 123 may be the easiest password to remember – and use everywhere – but it’s far from safe. Instead, create different passwords with a variety of upper-case and lower-case letters, symbols, and numbers. If you’re worried about forgetting your passwords, check out apps like KeepSafe. Also, most sites have a ‘Forgot username/password’ option so you can reset your password if you do forget it.
- Ensure shopping sites are reputable – one easy way to do this is by checking the website’s URL. If it begins with “https” instead of “http” it means the site is secure. Another way to check is to ask friends, family and colleagues if they’ve heard of the site or used it before.
- Watch out for WiFi hotspots – some scammers create false popular hotspots to gather your personal information.
- Do daily backups on your computer – this may seem tedious, but it should take just a few minutes and will help set your mind at ease, knowing your information is safe.
- Check your monthly statements carefully for unusual/unauthorised transactions or behaviours on your accounts.
- Get high quality security software and a firewall on your computer – and update these regularly. It’s worth the investment.
- Do not click on random links or attachments in suspicious emails or messages. That’s cyber security 101.
- Don’t use the same login details for different sites – avoid using your social media profiles to log in to other accounts.
- Be selective about the personal information you share on social media – again, criminals can use this to target you for everything from identity theft to extortion. Also avoid sharing information that could alert criminals that your home is unoccupied, for example, posting on social media that you’re going on holiday for two weeks.
- If it seems too good to be true, it is most likely not – we’ve all got those emails or SMSs claiming we’ve won a huge amount of money or inherited millions. Your best course of action is to delete these immediately and don’t respond.
EFT Payment Scam
Making an instant EFT payment is quick and easy – and many of us do it often – but is it always safe? Not according to the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) and the Payments Association of South Africa. Find out why: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/online-shoppers-warned-against-making-instant-eft-payments/