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Fraudsters purporting to be from your bank can be convincing, but there are some things your bank will never ask you. Your bank will never ask for more than three digits from your PIN to confirm your identity, for example.
New ways to bank – by telephone, the Internet and now your mobile – have saved us a lot of time but have also opened up opportunities for fraudsters.
Their tricks normally involve pretending to be your bank’s representatives, whether on the phone or via email. After convincing you that they are genuine, they ask you to carry out various plausible-sounding actions that will result in your account being raided.
This trend is becoming more popular in the country and the Central Bank of Nigeria is coming up with initiatives to combat electronic frauds in the banking system.
According to www.moneyfacts.co.uk, the United Kingdom’s biggest banks have decided to publish a list of the things they will never ask their customers to do after a YouGov poll found that millions of accountholders unwittingly leave themselves open to fraud.
Based on the answers to the poll, which assessed customers’ responses to some of the common tactics used by fraudsters over the phone, via email or via text, the British Bankers’ Association has calculated how many people it believes could fall foul of the most prevalent frauds.
Worryingly, around eight million people are thought to be vulnerable to “vishing” or voice phishing, while four million may transfer money into another supposed “safe” account if instructed, three million could be willing to carry out “test transactions” online, and 1.7 million would pass their bank card over to a courier on their doorstep if they carried some form of ID card.
To counter this and make customers more aware of the threat, the BBA has launched a fraud awareness campaign to help people spot the difference between legitimate contacts from their banks and a call from a fraudster.
A leaflet and a new website, Know Fraud, No Fraud, have advice on how to avoid becoming a victim, and what to do if you get caught out.
The leaflet also sets out eight things your bank will NEVER ask you to do.
If a similar poll is conducted in Nigeria, the result may be more overwhelming. In fact, the CBN reports have shown that many bank customers are vulnerable to fraud.
Nigerian banks under the aegis of the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum are also evolving initiatives similar to those of the BBA. However, there is a need for every bank customer to be vigilant.
Here are eight things that fraudsters may ask you to do, but which your bank neverwill:
- Call or email to ask for your full PIN or any online banking passwords
If your bank does contact you, perhaps to check that a transaction was really made by you, it would not ask for more than three digits from your PIN to confirm your identity, and would never ask for online passwords.
- Send someone to your home to collect cash, bank cards or anything else
Having posed on the telephone as a bank employee to extract key security information such as your full PIN, the criminals may say they are sending an official courier to your home to collect the corresponding card. These couriers will have bogus “official” identification.
- Ask you to authorise the transfer of funds to a new account or hand over cash
Often criminals, posing as a bank, will instruct you that your account is under threat – usually from a “corrupt employee” or “cyber criminals”. You will be instructed to make an online transfer of money into a new “safe account” – actually the fraudster’s – or hand cash to a bogus employee.
- Ask you to carry out a ‘test transaction’ online
Criminals pretending to be from a bank sometimes email customers asking them to perform a “test” transaction online, perhaps because of a “technical problem” on their account.
- Send an email with a link to a website that asks you to enter your online banking details
This is the well-known “phishing” scam.
- Ask you to email or text personal or banking information
Don’t do, even if the email address appears to belong to the bank.
- Provide banking services through any mobile apps other than the bank’s official apps
To download your bank’s mobile banking app, follow the link from its official website.
- Call to advise you to buy diamonds, land or other commodities
Reputable investment firms do not cold-call. Fraudulent “boiler rooms” can be very persistent and persuasive, so just put the phone down.