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How to protect yourself against ATM fraud

Date Added: July 31, 2009 09:38:55 AM
Author: Emlv PR3 Directory
Category: Computers & Internet: Information Technology
 



How to protect yourself against ATM fraud



Author: Anthony Osae-Brown


Increasingly Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are becoming a preferred means of withdrawing cash from individual bank accounts in Nigeria. Details from banks show that the transaction volume from this mode cash handling is on the rise.

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Arising from this however has been an equally increasing incidence of frauds associated with ATM transactions. Thousands of people are being duped daily as fraudsters have devised ingenious ways to get Nigerian card holders to part with their cash.

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As a means of curtailing the activities of these fraudsters, Bank PHB recently released a detailed guide on how to ensure that you protect yourself against ATM fraud.

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Phishing has been identified as a commonly used method for ATM frauds. It is a form of online identity theft that is used by fraudsters to steal personal and financial data from unsuspecting victims.

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It involves the use of bogus emails, mobile phone text messages and counterfeit websites by fraudsters to deceive unsuspecting customers into giving away confidential or personal information that can be used to defraud them.? It may also be used to spread malicious software to people’s computers.

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Typically, fake emails that appear to come from a reputable organization or trusted source e.g. BankPHB, Interswitch etc. are sent to unsuspecting victims. The name of a real company employee may even be used in the email.

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The email includes what appears to be a link to the organization’s website. However, when victims click on the link, they are connected to a counterfeit of the website.? Any sensitive information supplied by unsuspecting victims at the bogus website e.g. account numbers, PINs or passwords, falls into the hands of the fraudsters and are used to commit fraudulent withdrawals or purchases.

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There are several ways to identify suspicious emails or text messages from fraudulent sources. These include; use of generic greetings e.g. "Dear Valued Customer." If a bank sends you an official correspondence, it should have your full name on it. ? Requests for personal information: Most businesses do not ask for personal information by phone or through e-mail even before phishing became a widespread practice.

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Threats to your account and requests for immediate action: e.g. “Failure to respond within the next 48 hours will result in your ATM card being disabled.” Presence of Suspicious links. You are directed to follow a link present in the email. ? Misspellings and poor grammar.

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To protect yourself, Bank PHB e-banking team advises that;? You should never respond to emails that request your personal and/or financial information. Always look for signs that an email is “phishy”. Visit banks’ websites by typing the address into the address bar and not through the provided link.

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Keep a regular check on your accounts. Check if the website you are visiting is secure Be cautious with emails and personal data. Always report suspicious activity Keep your computer secure from strangers and familiar strangers or people you do not trust. ? Furthermore, never respond to emails that request personal financial information.

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Be suspicious of any email that asks for your password, PIN or account details or includes links to other websites for supplying same. Once released, such information can and will be used to defraud you.

Make additional enquiries from the Bank or company involved to verify the authenticity and source of such emails. Banks and e-commerce companies will never ask you for your personal/ confidential information through non-secure channels such as email

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Be cautious with emails and personal data. Be familiar with the Bank’s advice on carrying out safe online transactions.? Don’t let anyone know your PINs or passwords, do not write them down, and do not use the same password for all your online accounts. ? Do not open or reply to unsolicited emails as this validates your address to the sender and makes you a target for future scams.

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There are several phrases commonly used in fraudulent e-mails. These include; Alarming claims and threats to your account with requests for immediate action : e.g. “Your account details have been stolen or lost. Failure to respond within the next 48 hours will result in suspension of your ATM card.” Requests for personal information: e.g. “Click on the link below to confirm your account number, card number and PIN”.

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Presence of Suspicious links: e.g. “Click on the link below to update your account and card details” e.g. http://www.bankphbonline123.com

Use of misspelled or substitute characters: e.g. “1nformati0n”, in an attempt to bypass security software.

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Finally, always ensure that; the web address in the address bar (top of the browser) of the website you are visiting starts with “https://” (“s” for secure) rather than the usual “http://”.? Also look for a locked padlock icon on the browser’s status bar (bottom of the browser). This tells you that all information you supply on the website is encrypted and cannot be intercepted by fraudsters. Promptly report suspicious activity

If you receive an email you suspect isn’t genuine, to your bank. Keep your computer always secure.

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Ensure that up to date antivirus, anti-spam and other such security software are installed and enabled on your computer at home and at the office.? Also ensure that your internet browser software has up-to-date security patches.

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Practice safe internet browsing; avoid using public or shared computers and especially Cybercafes for online banking transactions and online purchases using debit/credit cards. Such systems may have been compromised by fraudsters who have installed on them software and tools designed to steal user names and passwords for defrauding people.

Follow these simple rules and you will reduce significantly your chances of falling victim to online fraud.

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Article Source: Link



About the Author:

Finance and communication specialist with experience in banking, research and financial analysis and media. Academic qualifications include an M Sc in Banking and Finance, a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and professional affiliation to the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS level I) and the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) United States. Good computer skills- Microsoft Excel, Access and Word-. Won four different merit awards in financial journalism


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