21st century fraudsters

Bank cards and electronic wallets have for a long time been part and parcel of our everyday life. Paying “by card” in supermarkets, booking flights and hotels by credit card and linking your plastic card to your mobile phone number to automatically top up your account balance…

The widespread adaptation of non-cash transactions has freed us from the need to carry in our pockets a load of coins and wad of money on a daily basis. But it would be naive to believe that the introduction of virtual payments has made our savings any more secure.

Specialists in phishing and fraud have replaced pickpockets who make a living on public transport and small-time crooks who try to palm off on us highly-profitable shares in “Mickey Mouse” companies with 1000% liquidity. Read in our blog to find out how not to become a victim of high-tech swindlers and to ensure the safety of your own plastic card.

Scam No.1: a call from the bank about an unauthorised transaction

Imagine the situation: unexpectedly you receive a call on your mobile phone from a polite and considerate worker from your bank. A pleasant, male baritone tells you that a certain person tried to take a significant amount of money from your card. Luckily, the security team was one step ahead and hastened to decline the operation, having decided to first of all receive confirmation from the actual owner of the card. That is to say, from you.

After the initial shock you fly into a state of blissful happiness. Indeed, the holder of your savings is vigilant and reliably looking after them. And as a result you are already less critical of what the polite bank worker says next. Yet it would be wise to keep one’s guard since the questions asked to you from the other end of the line clearly exceed the authority of an ordinary bank clerk.

**** Remember! Questions such as

–please tell us the number of your bank card, its expiry date and the CVC-code on the reverse side

– please provide your full passport details

–please provide the confirmation code sent to you by SMS from our bank

–please provide the username and password for your personal area linked to your bank account

can only be asked by a fraudster ****

Solution to the problem. The best method is to terminate the conversation immediately and call the number indicated on the reverse side of your plastic card. Most likely the real workers from the issuing bank of the card will quickly dispel your fears.
It is also useful to examine the incoming call number: a real bank worker will never call you from a personal mobile phone. SMS messages, supposedly coming from ePayments but for some reason not from the number from which you usually receive messages about completed transactions, are also worth ignoring. You can also ask the bogus worker what his/her full name is, personal number and department in which he/she works. Most likely the fraudster will be at a loss and will terminate the conversation. However, the most reliable method of control is by calling ePayments on the certified number on the reverse side of your plastic card.

Scam No.2: suspicious link with “interesting” content

You received an email with a tempting offer to visit an interesting website with photos of beautiful strangers, accessible by following the hyperlink. We strongly advise you here to reject the tempting offer, since it is 99% probable that it contains spyware which will imperceptibly take root in your computer or smartphone, will quickly gather the required financial information and promptly pass it on to criminals.

Solution to the problem. If you do not want to watch a recently-released film in the cinema, but rather at home, then register on any online cinema website and indulge in the virtual joy of HD-comfort and in full security. Another good piece of advice- don’t be afraid to spend money on antivirus software, and install on your computer a good antivirus which will secure you from hackers and fraudsters who attempt to install a spy widget to collect bank card or electronic wallet data, as well as personal information.

However, the best solution is to never open emails with hyperlinks from strangers.

Scam No.3: “chain letter

You unexpectedly receive a message from your bank with a message about an overdue payment, a lottery win, receive an interbank transfer from an unknown well-wisher or an already abovementioned “suspicious transaction” which needs to be cancelled (underline as appropriate).

In the attachments of your beautifully structured letter, written following all the standards of corporate style and business communication, you can find some files or hyperlinks invitingly requiring your click.

What should I do if I receive such emails? – Move them to your “Spam” folder and do not even read them, since the email attachments most probably contain a spyware virus on the hunt for your personal data.

Remember: reports for all card transactions must be confirmed by an SMS to your linked phone number. Also the receipt or crediting of funds should be displayed in your personal account on the website If there has been no signal concerning the movement of funds from trusted sources, then fraudsters are trying to fool you.

Spotting fraud is very easy:

–Check the email address of the sender. Most likely the address will appear as a set of difficult-to-read symbols and will be registered on a public domain- a telltale sign of fraudsters;

– Banks or card issuers often send non-essential or insignificant information by email to you such as messages about new promotions, birthday wishes or credit offers. Important information on the movement of your funds on your account will always be duplicated in an SMS message to your linked mobile phone number;

– if you still have any doubts- check your card balance in your personal account and call your account manager using the official number.

Scam No.4: a disturbing SMS from the “bank”

A purchase was made on your card for 1250 USD. To cancel the transaction call +** (***) ***-**-**

Fraudsters are counting on the fact that you will be scared and will begin calling the number indicated. If you do this, two options are possible:

– you will be charged an astronomical amount for calling the pay number;

– you will end up talking to a bogus bank operator who will try to find out your confidential information.

However, we are not planning to call fraudsters, and here’s why.

Pay attention to the number from which the message was sent. A strange number, don’t you agree? And is it not surprising that the SMS came from a new number, though it should have arrived in the old, trusted folder where the entire transaction history is stored from the time your card was issued. Hmm…The number of our issuer is displayed as ePayments, though the number of the fraudsters is displayed as ePayment. We’ll give them credit for their inventiveness but they won’t make a fool of us.

Scam No.5: password attack from your personal account

Alas, fraudsters often achieve their goals thanks to the banal carelessness of plastic card holders. They created a password to enter their personal account such as “1234567” or from their own name with their year of birth such as “Alex1989”? Congratulations, you’ve let the fox into the henhouse yourself.

Here there is only one recommendation- when creating a password be painstakingly inventive. One option is to create a password using English letters but with a keyboard layout in another language. Another option is to choose a word and a four-digit figure, combining them into one word and actively alternating between upper- and lower-case. For instance, the password option of a1L9e8X9 is much more complicated for fraudsters to figure out.

It is also useful to change your password from time to time from your personal account, moreover you should do it no less than once every six months. However, under no circumstances should you give your password to your personal account to third parties (even the doctor, your lawyer or priest).

Scam No.6: a plea for financial help from an old friend

Consider this: why would a not-so-close friend on Facebook out of the blue ask you to top up their mobile phone account by 20 USD? It is 99% likely that their account on the social network has been hacked by fraudsters, and therefore we recommend that you resist from making financial contributions.

Scam No.7: win-win lotteries

As mature adults we all perfectly understand that the only free cheese is in the mousetrap, and and there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Never participate in online lotteries in which the organisers demand participants to communicate their confidential information seemingly to credit the prize money (for example, the number, expiry date and CVC-code of a payment card) or to transfer a small fee to pay for the lottery’s organising fees.

Remember: win-win lotteries naturally do not exist!

Scam No.7: theft of confidential information from the user’s device

Did you enter your personal account on a computer in a public space or with free Wi-Fi? You’re walking on thin ice. At the first opportunity change your password and never be so careless again. For professional hackers and fraudsters it’s the same as an invitation into your own bedroom.

Scam No.8: purchase of a good from a suspicious, anonymous seller on a website with farfetched prices

Which sorts of sellers should I be suspicious of, you ask? Our response: those which sell goods for a price much lower than the objective market cost, and who in the meantime ask to send them an advance, if not a 100% prepayment. Always remember that the only free cheese is in the mousetrap, and you cannot believe anybody on their word (occasionally even your own wife). Therefore if you suddenly want to buy yourself a new MacBook from a seller from another city for a stunningly low price with a 100% prepayment- we would not advise you to do it. The chance of becoming a victim of fraud in this case hovers around the 85% mark.

The chance of becoming a victim of fraud is very high if it is you who appears as the seller. A potential buyer clicks on your announcement and is ready to pay you an advance, having believed your promises to send the purchase by express delivery? Such trust is simply touching. However, the secretive purchaser asks you to provide your bank card details, seemingly for a transfer, though the 16-digit number is not enough for him/her. He/she demands the expiry date, the exact cardholder name and the CVC-code on the reverse side of the code…It’s clear- we’ve run into a fraudster.

Remember: to make a wire transfer the sender only needs to know your 16-digit card code. Asking for any additional information is a telltale sign that fraudsters want to steal your money.

We sincerely hope that our recommendations will help you to keep your funds, and your nerves, in total security.

Leave a comment

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of