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Cybersafe June 28, 2022

4 Cybersecurity Scams To Look Out For

Frequently receiving emails or text messages from your bank reminding you not to click on suspicious links and give information such as your One-Time Password? It’s highly advised to keep these reminders in mind for a safe banking experience.


While phishing remains one of the most common cybercrimes around us, there are many more  scams that one should be aware of — even if they are lesser known compared to phishing. Here are some examples of scams cybercriminals are using in the digital age:


     1. Unauthorized recurring charges


Many individuals have subscriptions that require monthly payments, such as video streaming services or postpaid phone bills. As such, it is common to enroll automatic online payments from bank accounts.


However, cybercriminals can exploit this. One can receive a call claiming that they have won a prize which can be redeemed upon giving bank details. Once the caller has received an account number, password, and/or OTP, the callers can proceed to the bank to conduct  the enrollment or funds transfer.


To avoid this scam, one should do the same thing to prevent being a victim of phishing: Never give personal data to strangers. Awareness of who one is talking to is important, so file a report with the authorities about any possible criminal activity or fraud.


      2. Tech Support Scams


This scam primarily targets older individuals who are usually unfamiliar with the internet. Typically, the scammer will call the victim to introduce himself as a technician from a company and the claim there is something wrong with the victim’s device.


The scammer will then ask for the victim to install a program to fix the problem. Once it is installed, the victim’s computer is manipulated to allow the scammer to access the former’s bank account and transfer the money to their account.


Just like other scams, the best way to prevent being a victim is to avoid revealing personal information to strangers. It also helps to verify whether the caller is coming from the official tech support. It is particularly helpful to know the official channels through which tech support officers or personnel can get in touch with customers, such as through official emails. Scammers prey on the vulnerability and unfamiliarity of these individuals so that they can take control of their computer directly.


    3. Emergency Scams 


Emergency scams typically involve hacking the victim’s social media account. These accounts are used to message the victim’s family and friends to ask money for an emergency that purportedly took place. 


Sensing their loved one is in danger, people would then be moved to immediately send money. This scam is usually tough to look out for as it preys on the victims’ emotions — in this case, the fear of losing a loved one. 


As such, it is important to do due diligence with other people — not just to strangers, but even loved ones. Call or message the account owner, their friends, or their family to verify the emergency or situation. As a preventative measure, update passwords frequently.


     4. ATM Skimming


Skimming is a type of scam that happens when cybercriminals steal ATM information when individuals withdraw money or use a debit card to pay. Scammers install additional machines to an ATM terminal, such as hidden cameras to record the victim entering their PIN, to steal the data that would allow them to access their victims’ bank accounts.


Given its prevalence, the banking industry has made technological innovations to stop skimmers, such as enabling debit cards to detect whether they have entered a skimming device. This works by blocking the device from reading the card’s magnetic stripe. However, there are other things you can do to protect yourself, such as:


  • Refusing to talk to unauthorized individuals offering to help with your debit card
  • Only using a debit card in trusted establishments
  • Refraining to use debit cards in ATMs or point-of-sale terminals that look damaged. This is a tell-tale sign that skimming devices have been installed there


With the many forms of cybercrime, one has to remember that being safe is a joint effort both by the banking industry and the public. Everyone must be careful if they are being asked to share their financial information. 


Some of these scams may be easy to spot, while others might be a bit more complicated. Regardless, the best way to protect one’s money is to never disclose your personal data and OTP to people you do not trust.