Now that the festive season is around the corner, some crooks out there are already using new tricks to scam people off their money so that they can pull maximum swagg, especially at Xmas. And with Internet fraud on the rise, it's getting tougher to outsmart these criminals.
In one of my earlier posts titled "How To Ensure Safe and Secure ATM transactions" , I highlighted some tips that will guide you from falling prey to ATM scammers. These days, digital criminals are getting sneakier. "These guys are constantly thinking of new ways to swindle you, some of which are quite sophisticated," says Brian Krebs, a computer security expert and author of "Krebs on Security" at Krebsonsecurity.com.
Think you're safer transacting on ATM Machines? I just pray you won't fall into the trap of "skimmers" attached to ATMs. Those devices record account numbers and passwords so that thieves can clean out your bank account.
The devices are placed at the mouth of the card-acceptance slot and record the data off of the magnetic strip on the back of your ATM card when you slide it into the machine. Crooks will usually plant a second device, such as a hidden camera or a transparent plastic PIN pad overlay, that's used to record your PIN when you type it in. In the early days of skimming, the thief had to return to the ATM or gas pump to retrieve the apparatus. But now, Krebs says, wireless technology enables the devices to be rigged to send account information via text message to the thief's cell phone. "The thief can be down the street in a coffee house or halfway around the world," he says. "As long as he's got a working phone signal, he can get the information sent to him right away and start using it."
Prevention: Avoid using non-bank ATMs. Those machines are generally located in areas that are less secure, making it easier for thieves to tamper with them. And check the card slot: If there's a plastic strip or plastic film sticking out, or anything glued to the card reader, go elsewhere. If your card is stuck inside the card slot of such suspicious ATM machine, do not leave the machine. Use your cell phone to call your bank branch or the 24-hour service number to report the problem.
The "text messages" scam is not really a new thing out there but to be frank, many people still fall for such scams. Only God knows why some people will just wake up and think they can win "1 million naira" without working for it, all in the name of a "fake promo". The "Text messages" scam is now called "Smishing", synonymous to "Phishing" which is the "email" version of the scam.
How it works "Smishing" is when you get a text message from a supposedly trustworthy source, such as your bank, claiming a problem with your account and asking for your account details. When you respond, your information is stolen and your account is siphoned.
Some scammers will even send you messages that your name has been selected randomly as a winner of a huge amount of money in a "promo". You will be told to call a phone number, which will be answered by the scammer who will try to fool you into parting with some of your money or recharge vouchers before you will be able to claim your promo prize.
"It works because people don't give their cell-phone numbers out," Krebs says. "If someone has my cell number, I figure it's someone I know." Thieves can use random-dialing telemarketing services to hit on your number, says Rod Rasmussen, president and CTO of IID, an Internet security firm.
Prevention: If you get a text alert telling your that your bank account has been debited, thereby asking you to provide your bank details for it to be rectified, don't respond. Try to visit your bank instead. If the text message has to do with "Promos", no company will ask you to send money or recharge card to redeem your prize. Besides, you will always be asked to come to their office with valid ID before your prize can be given to you.
I hope this helps...
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Written By Jide Ogunsanya on October 17, 2010
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