Witbank SAPS warns residents – Fraudsters only a click, SMS or email away | #phishing | #scams


The increasing number of fraud cases reported is a big concern as Witbank Police Station warns the public to be cautious of becoming a victim to this type of crime, since the dramatic increase in the number of fraud cases that is being reported.

The Station Commander from Witbank Station, Brig Moses Bolton urges all bank customers to make a conscious decision to institute good habits to avoid becoming victims of ‘Phishing’, ‘Vishing’ and ‘SMishing’ scams.

“Phishing is when an email request the user to click on a link in the email which then directs them to a ‘spoofed’ website, designed to fool users into thinking that it is a legitimate attempt to obtain, verify or update contact details or other sensitive financial information. The spoofed website will look almost exactly like that of a legitimate or a well-known financial institution as for ‘Phishing’ emails, which are a form of spam emails are typically sent in large numbers to consumer email accounts,” Brig Bolton explained.

Where ‘Vishing’ is when a fraudster phones their victim posing as a bank official or service provider and uses social engineering tactics to manipulate them into disclosing confidential information, while at the same time leading them to believe that they are speaking to the bank or service provider. This information is then used to defraud the victim.

Bolton further said, “SMishing, short for ‘SMS phishing’ is like ‘Phishing’, except that a user is tricked to download malware onto their mobile devices, which is used to fraudulently obtain sensitive information by sending out text messages asking users to call a number or click on a link.”

‘Phishing’, ‘Vishing’ and ‘SMishing’ are all methods of deceitfully obtaining personal information such as passwords, ID numbers and bank card details, by tricking clients into believing that they are from trusted sources, such as banks or legitimate companies.

Brigadier Bolton issued the following preventative measures to the public to prevent fraudulent transactions from taking place:
  • Do not click on links or icons in unsolicited emails.
  • Never reply to these emails. Delete them immediately.
  • Do not believe the content of unsolicited emails blindly. If you are concerned about what is being alleged in the email, use your contact details to contact the sender and confirm.
  • Always type in the URL (uniform resource locator) or domain name for your bank in the address bar of your internet browser if you need to access your bank’s website.
  • Check that you are on your banks’ genuine website before inputting any personal information.
  • Make sure that you are not on a spoof site by clicking on the security icon on your browser toolbar to see that the URL begins with ‘https’ rather than ‘http’.
  • Check for a closed green padlock next to the URL of the website. A green padlock shows that your connection with the website is secured and encrypted.
  • If you think that you might have been compromised, contact your bank immediately.
  • Create complicated passwords that are not easy to decipher and change them often.
  • Banks will never ask you to confirm your confidential information over the phone.
  • If you receive a phone call requesting confidential or personal information, do not respond and end the call.
  • If you receive an OTP on your phone without having transacted yourself, it was likely prompted by a fraudster using your personal information. Do not provide the OTP telephonically to anybody. Contact your bank immediately to alert them to the possibility that your information may have been compromised.
  • If you lose mobile connectivity under circumstances where you are usually connected, check whether you may have been the victim of a SIM swap.

“The online shopping world has grown in popularity by merely purchasing items at our fingertips with fast delivery and great deals but never the less it created lucrative opportunities for criminal scammers to trick you into paying for goods, you will never receive or obtain your information for their financial gain,” Brigadier Bolton concluded.

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