Phish­ing, Vish­ing and SMish­ing are some of the ways that crim­i­nals are us­ing to steal your cash

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Palesa Mat­je­bele

Pop­u­lar money scams to watch out for

CRIM­I­NALS are get­ting more so­phis­ti­cated and smarter by the day. They are mov­ing with the times, hav­ing found a play­ground in dig­i­tal plat­forms. Since se­cu­rity mea­sures put in place by banks of­ten make it dif­fi­cult for crim­i­nals to steal money, they of­ten tar­get bank clients us­ing in­ter­net bank­ing.


The Dig­i­tal Bank­ing Crime Sta­tis­tics show that bank clients lost more than R250-mil­lion in the in­ter­net space last year, and there has al­ready been a 64 per cent in­crease this year.

Kalyani Pil­lay, the CEO of South African Bank­ing Risk In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre (SABRIC), ex­plains that crim­i­nals see bank clients as the weak­est link, and play at that. She fur­ther goes on to de­scribe crim­i­nals as be­ing very well-skilled so­cial en­gi­neers, and says they can eas­ily ma­nip­u­late vic­tims into di­vulging their con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion.

“They cap­i­talise on the fact that not all dig­i­tal bank­ing clients are dig­i­tally lit­er­ate and ex­ploit this vul­ner­a­bil­ity,” Kalyani ex­plains.

She lists the in­fa­mous mea­sures crim­i­nals use to make bank clients di­vulge per­sonal in­for­ma­tion:

Phish­ing – They send a spoofy email that re­quires you to click on an icon that will lead you to a fake web­site. The web­sites look le­git and are used to trick you into shar­ing, up­dat­ing or ver­i­fy­ing your fi­nan­cial de­tails. The minute you put in your con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion, your money is gone.

Vish­ing – Crim­i­nals may call you pos­ing as bank

of­fi­cials. They play at your emo­tions and may scare you into think­ing that some­one is try­ing to ac­cess your ac­count. They will trick you into re­veal­ing sen­si­tive de­tails, think­ing that you are ver­i­fy­ing that you are the right­ful owner.

SMish­ing – This tac­tic is sim­i­lar to phish­ing, be­sides that they use SMS. The SMS re­quires that you call a num­ber or down­load a link. Once you click or call the num­ber, crim­i­nals get hold of your de­tails.


Kalyani says al­though scams are noth­ing new, crim­i­nals find new ways to trick bank clients by us­ing the slick­ness, con­ve­nience and ef­fi­ciency of dig­i­tal plat­forms to their ad­van­tage.

When it comes to Phish­ing, Vish­ing and SMish­ing, even the smartest per­son can get tricked.

SABRIC has five top tips to help you pro­tect your­self:

Do not click on links or icons from spam emails and never re­ply to th­ese emails.

Do not be­lieve the con­tent of un­so­licited emails, and if you are con­cerned about what is be­ing al­leged in the email, use your own con­tact de­tails to get in touch with the sender and con­firm.

If you want to ac­cess your bank’s web­site, type its ad­dress in the ad­dress bar of your browser.

Change your pass­words of­ten and cre­ate com­pli­cated pass­words.

If you re­ceive a call re­quest­ing con­fi­den­tial de­tails, just end the call. Banks will never ask you to con­firm a pin num­ber or pass­word.


Mpine Pot­sane, who is a fi­nan­cial con­sul­tant at Absa, says no bank will call you ask­ing for your per­sonal or bank­ing de­tails.

She agrees that crim­i­nals can be con­vinc­ing, but urges bank clients to stop and think for a sec­ond be­fore at­tempt­ing to share their con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion.

“Your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion is con­fi­den­tial, not even your bank man­ager has or should have ac­cess to the in­for­ma­tion,” Mpine says.

Kalyani says even though the banks are not di­rectly af­fected by cy­ber­crime, they are ex­er­cis­ing ways to fight it.

She ex­plains that SABRIC is work­ing with po­lice and mo­bile net­work op­er­a­tors to fight the scourge. How­ever, Kalyani says that bank clients are their money’s best pro­tec­tion.

“It is very im­por­tant not to share con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion with any­one else,” she says.

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