Protect yourself against scams

South African Police Service

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South African bank notes featuring an image of former South African President Nelson Mandela are displayed at an office in Johannesburg January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Scams can cost people a lot of money and cause a great deal of distress. By following these simple tips, you can protect yourself against scams.

Phishing and Fraud Scams are methods of deceitfully obtaining personal information such as passwords, identity numbers and credit card details by calling, sending emails or cell phone messages that look like they come from trusted sources, such as banks or legitimate companies.

Typically, these emails or cell phone messages request that users click on a link in the email, which will direct users to a spoofed website – a site designed to fool users into thinking that it is legitimate – to obtain, verify or update contact details or other sensitive financial information. These emails and messages also contain a telephone number and contact person whom you should call, as you are promised you could win large sums of money.

What you should do to prevent falling victim to scams and fraud:

  • Never respond to emails or cell phone messages appearing to be from your bank, which request your personal details. Remember that no bank will ever ask you to confirm or update your account details by email.
  • Never provide your online ID, password or PIN to anyone and never write them down or share them.
  • Do not save your Internet banking password on your desktop.
  • Do not leave your computer unattended after you have entered your Internet banking password.
  • Always log off or sign off at the end of a session.
  • Avoid doing Internet banking in public areas such as Internet cafés, or on any computer that can be accessed by people you do not know.
  • Change your PIN and passwords frequently.
  • Put sensible transaction limits on your accounts.
  • Only provide your credit card details to reputable companies.

If it looks too good to be true, it usually is.

NEVER send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.

South Africa Today – South Africa News

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