Phishing Scams

Phishing is a method of deceitfully obtaining personal information such as passwords, identity numbers, credit card details and sometimes, indirectly, money. Perpetrators might call you or send e-mails that appear to be from trusted sources such as banks, other financial institutions or legitimate companies.

Typically, Phishing emails request that users obtain, verify or update contact details or other sensitive financial information by clicking on a link in the email that directs users to a spoofed website (a website designed by criminals to fool users into thinking that it is legitimate).

Spoofed websites look almost identical to the legitimate website of a well-known financial institution or business. Phishing emails, which are a form of spam, are sent by the thousands to consumer email accounts. The perpetrators use forms on these fake websites to trick recipients into disclosing their personal information.

Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Phishing Scams

  • Never respond to emails from your bank that requests your personal details. No bank will ever ask you to confirm or update your account details via email.
  • Never use a link in an email to access your bank’s website. Instead, always use the web address you were given when you signed up for internet banking. Type the web address in your browser and ensure the site is secure by looking for the “lock” icon on your browser before logging on.
  • Do not open emails from unknown sources. Even if the title and sender details appear to be related to your bank delete them immediately.
  • Keep your online ID, password or PIN private. Never write these details down or share them with anyone, not even with a bank official.
  • Do not save your Internet Banking password on your desktop, laptop, cell phone, PDA or other electronic device. 
  • Create longer passwords that combine letters (lowercase and capitals) and numbers that cannot be attributed to you. Avoid passwords that are too personal, too simple such as 1234 and don’t duplicate one password for multiple accounts.
  • Never leave your computer unattended after you have entered your Internet Banking password.
  • Always log off or sign out at the end of a session.
  • Avoid using computers for Internet Banking in public areas such as Internet cafés or other places where multiple unknown people have access.
  • Change your PIN and passwords frequently.
  • Remember to place sensible transaction limits on your accounts.
  • Ensure that you have up-to-date anti-virus software applications on devices you use to access Internet Banking. You should also frequently update security patches for your operating system.
  • Only provide your credit card details to reputable companies.

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© The Banking Association South Africa 2017