Tag: scam

New online banking scam this festive season

A new banking scam whereby fraudsters remotely take control of your PC over the Internet to gain access to consumer’s online banking profile is currently doing the rounds.

This is according to First National Bank (FNB), which alerted consumers about the latest festive season scam.

In a statement, FNB says fraudsters are sending unsuspecting consumers fake emails notifying them that fraud has occurred on their respective bank accounts’ or credit cards.

Soon after the email is sent the customer receives a call from a fraudster claiming to be from their bank and offers to help block any fraudulent transactions by first requesting the customer to install “protection” software on their computer, which allows the fraudster to gain full control of the computer remotely.

Kovelin Naidoo, cyber security officer at FNB, says fraudsters are employing carefully constructed scamming tactics that have the ability to trick even the most vigilant customer if they are not aware of the modus operandi.

“If someone calls you and requests your personal banking details or to install remote access software on your computer, please end the phone call and contact your banks’ fraud contact centre. FNB will never ask you to share your OTP to reverse pending transactions or to block your banking profile,” cautions Naidoo.

He adds: “As access to banking services through digital channels continues to grow, so does the prevalence of banking scams, therefore we urge consumers to always be vigilant and familiarise themselves with the different types of digital banking fraud, as well as the security measures provided by their respective banks.”

How fraudsters use the software to defraud consumers:

  • The fraudster calls the customer and offers to help them block any fraudulent transaction by asking him/her to download and install “protective” PC software.
  • The customer downloads the software, and with the help of the fraudster, installs it.
  • Once the software is installed, the fraudster asks the customer to log into his/her personal online banking profile.
  • After logging in, the customer’s computer goes blank. Shortly afterwards, he/she starts receiving OTP (one-time pin) SMS’ to confirm transactions he/she did not perform.
  • The fraudster then reassures the customer that these are fraudulent transactions and requests that he/she forwards the OTPs so that they can be blocked or reversed immediately.
  • The fraudster then uses the OTPs forwarded to him/her to process the pending transactions and defrauds the customer.

Source: IT Web

Fake WhatsApp affects millions of users

Around 1 million users have downloaded a fake version of WhatsApp which appeared on Google Play.

Reddit’s forum users noticed that it was a hoax. Users who didn’t notice this and downloaded the fake app ended up with a major amount of adverts rather than a messenger app.

According to Hacker News, the reason this spoof fooled so many people is because whoever created the App and who put it in the Play Store did so under the name “WhatsApp Inc”, which is the same name the maker of the world-famous app uses. However, Fortune Magazine says that it is not the most uncommon incident.

Fortune points out that when you search for “WhatsApp” on Google Play, it currently shows no fewer than seven spoof apps using slight variations on the developer name “WhatsApp Inc.”
All of them have four-star review averages, due to Play’s review system.

So remember to watch out before downloading off Google Play or ask a friend to send you the original App via file sharing apps such as SHAREit.

What happened?

WhatsApp fraudsters have tricked more than one million people into downloading a fake version of the chat app from the Google Play Store.

WhatsApp users downloaded the ‘Update WhatsApp Messenger’ from the Android app store as it looked it was from the company that makes the popular app.

The Google Play Store page for the fake app claimed the programme had been developed by WhatsApp Inc, the creators of the instant messaging app.

However, it was instead a fake app that contained adverts and download malicious software onto a user’s device.

The developers made it look like a legitimate app by using virtually the exact same name as the developer WhatsApp Inc.

However, they replaced a space that appeared in the name with a character that made the one defining difference look invisible.

This made it almost impossible for an Android smartphone user to detect the different between the real WhatsApp app and the fake version.

How to check if your WhatsApp is fake

To start with, go to Settings and then find the Apps section and click on WhatsApp.

Then under Store you should see the option to check the App Details.

This should then take you to the Google Play page which shows the app has been downloaded more than one billion times.

The developer for the app should be WhatsApp Inc and it should have a PEGI 3 rating.

If any of these details are different, alarm bells should be ringing and you should delete the app to find the official version.

You can also download an anti-virus to clean up any malicious software that may have been installed on your smartphone.

The news comes after over the weekend Express.co.uk warned about another fake app that had appeared on the Android app store.

The bogus programme appeared to be a fake version of the upcoming WhatsApp business app and was available to download from the Android app store.

Alerting users to the issue one Android user on Google Play complained that the app was full of adverts, while another claimed it was being used for “data theft”.

The fake app was flagged up by tweeter @MujtabaMHaq and WABetaInfo, a Twitter account about all things WhatsApp.

It has since been deleted from the Google Play Store.

Source: IOL; Dion Dassaayake for Express

New Gumtree scam uses Uber drivers

A MyBroadband reader recently faced a scam involving Gumtree, Taxify, and his iPhone 7 Plus.

It started when he posted his iPhone 7 Plus 256GB on Gumtree, and received five calls to purchase the device on the first day.

“All of them said they do not use WhatsApp. All said they will send an Uber to collect. All offered to send documents,” he said.

Scammers appear to be trawling Gumtree for high-value items, like an iPhone, then try to steal them by offering to purchase the item, and sending forged documents and notifications.

This is done when potential victims agree to accept an EFT.

The scammer knows which bank the victim uses and sends an SMS stating a deposit has been made into their bank account from a different bank.

This is so they have an excuse for why the money hasn’t cleared if checked. They then send an SMS that looks like a deposit notification from the victim’s bank.

Scam

In the reader’s case, the scammer said he was sending his “friend” to collect the iPhone after he had made the “payment”.

The “friend” turned out to be a Taxify driver, who had little knowledge of the person he was collecting the phone for.

The reader said after handing his device over, he felt something was wrong, and went to the guard house where he stays and got the driver’s number from the sign-in book.

He called the driver, explained he thought the collection was a scam, and the driver returned – cancelling the trip.

The scammer the driver did the pickup for was a cash customer, who then contacted him and offered R1,500, then R3,000, to complete the delivery. The driver declined.

“These criminals are using Uber and Taxify with cash payment options to get the drivers to do the hard work and collect the items from victims,” said the reader.

Fighting cons

Gumtree said fraudulent proof of payment is not new in online marketplaces.

“Although we haven’t seen many cases like this, it seems that Uber or Taxify is another way of making it harder to trace the actual perpetrator,” said Gumtree.

“We urge community members to inform us via our 24/7 contact centre if they encounter a suspicious buyer or seller.”

Gumtree stated that victims or potential victims must also contact the SAPS about any scam incidents.

The company said it will speak to Uber and Taxify to collaborate and combat this activity.

Uber recently introduced new safety features which require cash riders to link a Facebook account to their Uber profile, which it verifies, before using the service.

Called Social Connect, only new sign-ups are currently required to link their Facebook account.

Uber said there is potential for Social Connect to expand to existing users in future.

Taxify did not respond to requests for comment.

Safety features

One way to avoid falling victim to a scam is to use a third-party escrow service, like Shepherd – which is offered by Gumtree in conjunction with Standard Bank.

The service charges 3.95% of the transaction value, with a minimum charge of R30.

Shepherd also charges separately for its shipping service – starting at R100 for items below 2kg, and R169 for items up to 10kg.

“If you opt not to use Shepherd, always check that funds have cleared before handing over goods,” said Gumtree.

By Jan Vermeulen for MyBroadband

Beware this Apple phishing scam

A new Apple phishing scam is doing the rounds.

The scam informs user that their “Apple ID’ has been locked and threatens them with the fact that their information is now insecure.

In order to fix the “issue”, users are requested to follow a link which looks on the surface like an Apple-related site. Browsers and anti-virus quickly block the site as suspicious.

How to identify a scam e-mail

Spam, scam e-mails and phishing: every day we receive hundreds of e-mails that may or not be linked to criminals trying to steal information from us.

My Office News took a look at an email we received and dissected it piece-by-piece to show you how to identify spam.

 

When the short link is clicked, it redirects to a site that downloads malware to your device.

Should you receive an email from someone claiming to be a service provider (such as a bank or ISP), rather call their main office to check the validity of the information.

Myth, busted: the missed-call scam

Warnings of a “one-ring scam” in which telephone customers return hang-up calls from foreign phone numbers, only to find they’ve been charged hefty fees and have their details stolen, are only partly true.

Although returning the call can cost some serious money, rumours are rife that these calls can somehow result in your list of contacts being downloaded or your banking details being compromised. This is fake news.

The scam
Telephone customers return one-ring calls from foreign phone numbers and are charged hefty fees.
This scam has been brought to the fore recently by news networks like MyBroadband and The Citizen, while providers such as Vodacom and MTN have sent customers warnings.

South Africans who received missed calls from as far afield as Guinea returned the calls, only to find that they have been billed exorbitant amounts, even if they were only on the line for a short time.

“Someone just told me she called back a missed call from Guinea and got charged R780 for a few seconds!” social media law specialist Emma Sadleir reported on Twitter.

MTN told MyBroadband that this is the resurgence of an old scam that originated in Japan known as Wangiri.

Wangiri literally translates to “one and cut”, implying that the phone is allowed to ring once before cutting the call.

Computers randomly dial numbers and drop the calls in the hope that unsuspecting victims will return them, only to be billed at premium rates.

“Our investigation has found that some of these numbers are designed to prolong customers to stay longer on the line by a recorded ring-tone or a long recorded message,” MTN says.

Vodacom sent out an advisory about the surge in Wangiri fraud, and told its clients not to return calls from unknown international numbers.

Fact versus fiction
Here’s the fact and the fiction surrounding this scam.

False: Returning a “one-ring” foreign call will enable scammers to download your contacts list and access your financial account information.
This is an impossibility. The only way this information can be compromised is if you provide the scammer with it.

True: Phone scammers sometimes lure potential victims through the use of “one-ring hang-ups”. Numbers can be set up to charge a premium fee, and when calls are returned unsuspecting victims are billed exorbitantly.
Scammers may also use their wits to elicit sensitive and confidential information from victims, such as financial details.

Origins
The “one ring” telephone scam is similar in form to the venerable 809 area code scam in that both involve trying to dupe unwary phone customers into calling a foreign phone number in order to stick them with hefty charges. While the 809 scam involves sending pages, faxes, voicemails, or e-mail messages that supposedly relay important information (e.g., news about a distressed family member or a notification of prize winnings) in order to lure the recipient into calling a provided phone number, the “one ring” scam employs a simpler technique: the scammers place calls to blocks of phone numbers (sometimes with the use of robo-call devices), disconnect each call after a single ring, and hope that the owners of some of those numbers will be curious enough to call back.

Dubbed “one-ring hang-ups,” the scheme targets millions of mobile-phone lovers. Unscrupulous operators make thousands of random calls from normal phone lines, letting the phones ring once before hanging up. They count on inquisitive folk, or those anxious not to miss a single call, ringing back the number shown on their screens.

Once hooked, the victims of the “one ring” scam are supposedly separated from their money through a variety of means: keeping them on the line for as long as possible while they rack up international call tolls, duping them into unknowingly calling premium-rate phone numbers (akin to the 900 Pay-Per-Call services), or enticing them into signing up for pricey services. As with the 809 scam, however, it appears that the prevalence of the one-ring scam and the potential damages its victims might suffer are considerably lower than the circulated warnings about it often suggest.

It’s certainly not true, as stated in the example cited above, that the mere act of calling a particular number would allow a phone user’s contacts and banking information to be stolen by someone else. That sort of information would be compromised only if another party somehow hacked into the user’s phone (via a malicious app or other code) and/or the user actively did something to enable access to it. (In either case, there’s no obvious reason why such a scheme would require the victim to place a call to the information-stealer rather than the other way around.)

Some versions of this warning maintain that “You may also be charged a monthly fee for joining some club you know nothing about. By calling the number, you ‘authorize’ them to place a fee on your cellphone bill.” However, it seems to be more the case that victims aren’t subscribed to services simply through the act of calling a phone number, but rather that the scammers use social engineering techniques (including harassment) to persuade them to subscribe to pay services or give out their credit card information.

Those who do [call back] find themselves listening to advertisements for all sorts of dodgy services. Some firms try to hook callers into subscribing, say, to high-priced chat-lines or Internet services. Others dupe callers into providing credit-card numbers. Using caller-identification in reverse helps to harass more users. Some victims decide it is easier to pay than face fresh hassles. Even if only a small fraction are snared, it is still a lucrative ploy: their own charges are small since they never give their quarry a chance to answer.

Other versions of the warning caution that cell phone owners who return one-ring calls are charged $19.95 for an “international call fee” and then a “$9.00 per minute charge” on top of that. But Sprint currently lists its standard rate for placing calls from U.S. cell phones to the countries mentioned in the above example (Belarus and Latvia) at between $2.65 and $2.69 per minute (and as low as $0.41 to $0.43 per minute if the caller subscribes to an international long-distance plan), so a victim who returned such a

call and stayed on the line for a couple of minutes before hanging up might realistically be out $5 or so in toll charges. Phone customers can generally get any “premium service” (i.e., “international call fee”) charges tacked on to such a call reversed by contacting their phone service providers and documenting the circumstances of the call.

Many forms of this warning list specific country/area codes that phone users should never place calls to (because of their association with various phone scams), including 473 (Grenada), 268 (Antigua), 876 (Jamaica), 809 (the Dominican Republic), 375 (Belarus), 371 (Latvia), and 284 (the British Virgin Islands). There is, of course, nothing wrong with connecting to numbers with these country/area codes if you happen to know whom you’re calling: all cautions regarding the one-ring scam (and similar schemes) apply only to solicitations to contact entities unknown to you. If you have to call a number associated with a dialing code that’s unfamiliar to you, you can use a code lookup site to check it out first.
Do not return phone calls from foreign numbers you do not recognise. If the person on the other end is legitimately looking for you, the chances are they will not hang up are one or two rings, and they will leave a voicemail message.

By Barbara Mikkelson for Snopes; Jan Vermeulen for MyBroadband

Sanlam warns of personal loan scam

Scammers are getting increasingly bolder in their methods to dupe consumers.

In the latest incident, financial services giant Sanlam has warned on Friday that a false entity is using its name to flaunt personal loans to consumers.

The false entity, called “Sanlam Loans SA Pty”, is circulating personal loan offers to consumers under the Sanlam brand name, using a fake logo and contact details and presents clients with a “guaranteed” loan offering of 4.5% return.

The return will supposedly be in the form “of personal, commercial, leasing, debt consolidation and home loans”.

Sanlam said it strongly disassociates itself from these loan offers and has no connections to Sanlam Loans SA Pty.

Sanlam’s loan offer is managed through Sanlam Personal Loans (Pty) Ltd, a registered credit provider.

It said its Forensic Investigations unit is investigating these offers and discouraged all clients to refrain from acting on the offer.

Sanlam is not the only company being targeted by scammers at the moment. Fin24 reported recently about a loan scam which falsely claimed to be on behalf of Wonga.com.

Wonga.com South Africa warned consumers against this loan scam after it became aware of people offering loans to consumers under the Wonga company logo, registration number and NCR number.

Consumers were urged to remain vigilant against personal loan scams and other forms of phishing by fraudsters.

Statistics released by the South African Anti-Phishing Service in 2013 indicated that the country is the second-most targeted country for phishing scams in the world.

In addition, the financial surveillance department of the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) said it has seen a notable increase in advanced fee scams (also known as “419” or “Nigerian letter scams”) in SA over the last few years, particularly through the use of mobile phones.

In the Wonga.com scam the criminals sent consumers emails claiming to be from Wonga, offering them (fake) loans with unrealistic interest rates.

Once a recipient contacted the scammers, they were requested to provide personal information and to deposit various amounts of money into different private bank accounts.

This continued along with repeated requests for an advance fee payable, and the victim never receives the loan funds.

Wonga.com warned that it does not offer business loans and the only way to apply for a real Wonga loan is via the Wonga.com website – never by email or SMS.

In addition, Wonga offers a maximum loan of R2 500 for first time customers. Wonga will never request any payment upfront for a loan.

New scam hits FNB customers

FNB is warning customers about a new scam which involves them receiving an e-mail stating their online banking access will be disabled or deactivated.

“In an attempt to obtain your personal details, you will be requested to select a link in the email to confirm that you did not request your account to be deactivated,” said FNB.

Continue reading

New cell phone scam costs you R5 a day

The Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) has uncovered a new cell phone scam where South African mobile users are secretly subscribed to a paid-for adult service.

Following a complaint, WASPA’s Media Monitor identified the case of auto-subscription – where a consumer is subscribed to a service without asking or consenting to be subscribed.

All a user needed to do to be subscribed to the service was to visit a Web site and click on a link. No indication was given they would be subscribed to the service.

A panel of three adjudicators, who are specialists in information and communications technology law, reviewed the complaint and details provided to determine if there is any breach of the WASPA Code of Conduct.

How it happens
The investigation of the service shows that the user of the cell phone would not have known he was being subscribed to a subscription service, as the network confirmation page was not visible to the user.

The user never saw the network confirmation page, and therefore could not click on it to subscribe to the service.

However, this network-hosted confirmation page is ostensibly approved by the user, as the provider of the service fools the confirmation page into reporting that the user confirmed the subscription.

The first time the consumer becomes aware of subscribing to the service is after R5 has been billed to their account and when they receive an SMS welcoming them to the subscription service.
According to the panel, the service involved adult content, and there were no warnings to this effect.

There was also no reference to the fact that this was a subscription service on the Web site, nor were pricing, billing, or terms and conditions shown to the user.

Your number available without your consent
In this case, the cell phone number of the user is harvested without their knowledge or consent, simply by the consumer browsing a particular Web site.

“The consumer would probably wonder how the subscription service was able to know which cell phone to bill, as the consumer never typed their cell phone number into a text field on the Web site,” the panel said.
This insidious collection of personal information intrudes on a consumer’s right to privacy, said the panel.

It would appear that the “Mobile Network Providers” allow for this information to be made available to third-party Web sites.

WASPA temporarily shuts down service
The panel said this is a good example of a cynical and criminal attempt to make money at the expense of the consumer.

“No real attempt is made to comply with the WASPA Code of Conduct at all, and so the breaches are numerous and both flagrant and extreme,” the panel concludes.

In an emergency panel meeting on the matter, it found that there was a high likelihood of considerable harm to the public if this service was not stopped.

The service provider’s WASPA membership was suspended until all of its services were provided to the Media Monitor for review and testing to rule out any further harm to consumers.

Source: www.mybroadband.co.za

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