Here’s how to avoid being cyber scammed of your hard-earned cash

By Al-Qalam Correspondent

Individuals and business owners must constantly remain on-guard to prevent scammers gaining access to personal and financial information, says Nasir Seedat, Al Baraka Bank’s general manager: Retail and Wealth. 

Cyber security risks have increased at a global level with cyber criminals coming up with new methods to hide their identities and target victims.

Al Baraka bank says it is represented on a number of forums which collaborate in industry-wide initiatives, such as key risk identification, analysis of cyber security events, incident responses, framework development and the drafting of position papers. The Bank is a member of the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) which engages with local and global threat intelligence agencies, cyber security hubs and organisations. 

Seedat said: “While banks apply stringent safeguards to prevent scammers accessing the personal information of their clients, there exists a pressing need for both individuals and business owners to also take an active role in preventing fraud by cyber criminals. The need for extra precautionary measures has never been greater, given the speed of digitalisation and technology advances in every-day life.” 

“We all need to make it as difficult as possible for cyber criminals by remaining cognisant of the latest scams and through actively applying security tips financial service providers make available to the public,” he added.   

Useful tips provided by SABRIC to avoid both the latest and older scams – and to protect personal information include: 

•Not using the same username and password for access to banking and social media platforms; 

•Avoiding sharing or having joint social media accounts. 

•Being cautious about what is shared on social media. 

•Activating security settings which restrict access to your personal information. 

•Not carrying unnecessary personal information in a wallet or purse. 

•Not disclosing personal information, such as passwords and PINs when asked to do so by anyone via telephone, fax or even email. 

•Not writing down PINs and passwords and avoiding obvious choices, such as birth dates and first names. 

•Not using any Personal Identifiable Information (PII) as a password, user ID or personal identification number (PIN)

•Not using Internet Cafes or unsecure terminals (hotels, conference centres and the like) to conduct banking transactions. 

•Using strong passwords for all accounts, changing password regularly and never sharing them with anyone else. 

•Storing personal and financial documentation safely. Such documentation should be locked away, while ensuring PIN numbers and passwords are kept confidential. 

•Verifying all requests for personal information and only providing it when there is a legitimate reason to do so. 

•Preventing ID documents being used to commit fraud if lost or stolen by alerting the SA Fraud Prevention Service immediately on 0860 101 248 or at www.safps.org.za 

•Ensuring the use of a robust firewall and installing antivirus software to prevent a computer virus sending out personal information from your computer. 

•Destroying personal information by either shredding or burning it (do not tear or put it in a garbage or recycling bag). 

•Reporting stolen ID or driving licence documents to SAPS immediately. 

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