EML is aware of fraudulent text messages circulating where fraudsters are trying to scam their victims by pretending to be a friend or family member in need of money. There has been a particular spike this week in ‘smishing’, where fraudsters send fake text messages.
There are some simple steps cardholders can take to protect their money from scams. We recommend:
Protecting your money
- Only send money by bank transfer someone you know and trust. Sending Money by bank transfer is like sending someone cash and generally once you send it, its gone.
- Always use a secure method of payment such as a credit card, debit card
- Limit the number of places where you store your payment information online or use a secure digital wallet
- Keep online banking software and banking apps up to date and always download updates when you are prompted
- Keep an eye on transactions on your bank statements regularly and report suspicious activity to your bank or credit card provider straight away
Know your Merchant
- Research the site - If you’re on a website you’ve never used before, do an online search of the company’s name along with the words “scam” or “review.” Check the site’s social media pages for any complaints from customers.
- Be wary of online ads - Place extra scrutiny on sites you find through social media ads, which are a common way to lure people in. Sometimes the ads are based on products you’ve been searching for online. For example, if you’ve been looking for a certain toy, scammers can buy ads to get their site on your Facebook timeline with a picture of the toy you’ve been wanting to buy.
- Don't always trust social media adverts - Rather than depending on your friends and family to share a scam on social media, we have also seen scammers pretend to be advertisers. The scammers create social media accounts and pay to have their scam message advertised to you in your timeline. They are trying to exploit the credibility of social media advertising, understanding that you’ve grown used to seeing and trusting offers from genuine advertisers on social media. Stay vigilant when you see new companies, organisations or brands pop up on your feed. You should also be suspicious if you see a new social media account advertising for a company you know well. It may be a scammer pretending to be a new branch or new account for that brand.
- Be suspicious of hard-to-find products - another way shoppers get tricked is by sites that falsely say they have products in stock that are sold out almost everywhere else. Scammers do the same during the holidays, saying that they have hard-to-find video game consoles or toys
- Don’t fall for price - If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers offer lower prices on hot products knowing that shoppers will find them hard to resist.
Avoiding identity theft
- Use strong passwords that contain capital letters, numbers and symbols and do not share them with anyone.
- When an email arrives from your regular provider stating that they have changed their bank account and ask you to deposit your money into that new account, always make sure to contact your regular provider to confirm this.
- Do not provide personal information in online or telephone surveys.
- Never reveal your personal information, such as your name, your phone number and your ID. Never send all this information together if you do not know who is requesting it.
- Never send the data related to your cards, such as the number, the PIN, the security number that you will find on the back or the expiration date. All these data together are the door to unauthorized purchases. In fact, the combination of these four data (number + PIN + expiration date + CVV) are the necessary combination to know if the card is valid.
- Never provide the information necessary to access online banking. This includes the user number, password, digital signature and the codes of your card if you have them.
- Finally, do not hand over your bank details, this is, the complete numbering of your accounts, with the full IBAN.
It is vital that if you feel that you have been scammed that the payment is reported to the bank’s fraud team, time is essential in regard to capturing funds. EML have a close working relationship with banks, and have integrated a zero fraud tolerance.