It’s quick, easy and you can do it from the comfort of your couch – online banking. Gone are the days of having to go to an ATM or your nearest branch to perform simple transactions. However, along with the convenience of online banking comes a very real risk of being defrauded.
There are a number of ways fraudsters could gain access to your funds without you realising it.
- Phishing Scams
This involves the fraudsters sending a fake email to unsuspecting bank customers to get their hands on the customer’s confidential online banking details. The emails often look like the real deal. Victims are required to click on a link or provide confidential information to the fraudsters such as their account number, PIN, password and the OTP that is sent to them.
- Sim Swaps
By now a household term, SIM swapping is when the fraudster asks a cellphone network provider to give them a replacement SIM linked to a specific number. Once the fraudster is given the new SIM, the victim’s SIM will stop working. Instead, all SMSs from your bank including One-Time Passwords (OTPs) and other SMS notifications will be sent to the new SIM. Having access to the OTPs, the fraudster can now complete several transactions that require an OTP.
- Key Logging
This is when a fraudster is able to read every key you press when accessing your bank accounts. Since the keystrokes are recorded in a random order, it could take fraudsters several months to decipher the passwords and codes. Key logging is done either through software key loggers or hardware key loggers.
Software Key Loggers: a key logger program installs itself on your computer once you’ve clicked a suspicious link asking you to install software. Once the program is installed, your keystrokes are saved in a hidden file and, once you’ve completed your transaction, that file is sent to the fraudster.
Hardware Key Loggers: in this case, the fraudster needs physical access to your computer to replace keyboard components such as the cables or other parts. The key loggers look exactly like common keyboards or computer equipment. Such loggers are also used on ATM machines.
While there’s no way to prevent online banking fraud entirely, there are a number of things you can do to ensure your money doesn’t land up in greedy hands. Follow these steps, and you’ll greatly limit the ability for hackers to gain access to your account(s).
- Think before you click. Don’t open any attachments you don’t recognise as these could often contain key logging software. Also avoid clicking on links claiming to redirect you to your bank’s website. Rather enter the bank’s web address manually and save the address under your bookmarks.
- Keep it private. Don’t share your login passwords, PIN or account details with anyone. Also be careful how you throw away any documents from your bank and ensure you scratch out any personal info that could help fraudsters gain access to your account(s). Never write down your PIN or passwords and don’t save any confidential info on your phone. If you struggle to remember the login info, you could always make use of a reputable password manager instead.
- Stay strong. When creating a password, ensure it’s strong. If you’re using a password manager, you could also make use of the password generator that’s usually included.
- Change it up. Never stick to one password for too long and do not use the same password for all your online accounts. Best practice is to change your password every 3 to 6 months.
- Sharing isn’t always caring. Should you bank phone you and request personal info, it’s important to know that they will never ask you for your personal login information, PIN or security number found on the back of your card. If you doubt the legitimacy of the call, rather say you’ll go to a branch to discuss things further.
- Be notified. Ensure your online notifications are activated so that you are notified whenever your account is accessed or a transaction is made. If you’re unsure about how to set up notifications, you can visit your nearest branch for assistance.
- Get the app. Almost all banks have their own cellphone banking app and they provide an extra layer of security. Unlike SMS and email notifications, notifications on the app cannot easily be intercepted by the hacker. Instead, the hacker would need to physically access your phone to access these notifications.
- Report it. The moment you receive a suspicious SMS, email or phone call, it’s crucial you report it to your bank. Not only does this help the bank keep track of the latest fraud trends, but it also enables them to warn others against these methods.