4 minute read
31 Aug 2021
11:59 am

Standard Bank’s tips on how not to get caught by scammers


While you’re getting ready for the day, fraudsters are busy working on their next scam!

Image supplied

Every expert or consumer can attest to the fact that digital banking is very important in the present day and will ever be significant in the near future.

The basis of digital banking

Digital banking combines online and mobile banking services into a solution that gives users a variety of ways to transfer and connect with your money, budgeting, saving and investing at a simple touch of a button.

The growth of digital banking has seen exponential growth over the years in Africa as consumers become more tech-savvy and electrical devices become more advanced.

Digital scamming in South Africa

A rise in this post-modern way of banking spiked due to COVID-19 as many moved towards the digital space – be it purchasing household items or for daily transactions.

This form of online scamming is ever-increasing and can occur at any moment. Therefore, consumers using digital banking platforms should be conscious of their every move.

“Consumers who are increasingly banking on digital channels should be aware of digital hygiene factors when banking; cybercriminals are likely to increase their activities as the adoption of digital channels increase,” says Head of Business Risk and Cybercrime at Standard Bank, Carolina Reddy.

This shortcoming is digital scamming – which can be easily coined as internet fraud.

Three common scams fraudsters use

Your personal information should be kept secret and be known only by yourself whether it’s the PINS, passwords, ID numbers or account details.


Phishing is one of the most common and easiest scams as mobile banking increases. Here fraudsters will ask for your personal and bank details over the phone and use those to access your account to make illegal transactions.

Similarly, to vishing, smishing aims at accessing your personal information, this time through an SMS.


During a Smishing attempt scammers may call you and claim to be the bank’s employee luring you into sharing bank account details, PINs and OTPs.

These three elements can be used to access your account.

Stolen phones

Phones are also increasingly becoming our modern-day hard drive and an omnipresent medium to access different clouds or drives.

A stolen phone can also be a haven for fraudsters as they will not have free reign in accessing your personal and banking information.

What to do next: If your phone is stolen, contact the bank immediately to deactivate your banking app and block your account.

Your email can be used to gain sensitive date

The only purpose of the following scams is to gain access to your devices and their sensitive data.

We often receive unsolicited correspondence from unknown emails claiming to be from a reliable organisation. These emails may be from someone masquerading as a trusted organisation to trick victims into revealing sensitive information. This is known as phishing.

The email and hacking scam can lead to both a stressful personal period as well as monetary disputes with friends, family as well as business partners.

Using this scam, fraudsters could hack your email address through malware viruses and send emails to your contact list asking for money, donations or fake payments made to your business partners’ updated banking details.

Quick Fixes: Change your password immediately and enable multi-factor authentication. Thereafter, scan your computer for viruses and malware.

Using the keylogging software scam fraudsters can install software that records every touch on the keyboard making it easier to have your logins and passwords, leading to an easy defraud. 

This software is common in internet cafes, and you can involuntarily install it when you open unsolicited email attachments or hyperlinks and also, via memory sticks or malicious websites.

What to avoid: Internet cafes, untrusted people to use your computer, opening emails, attachments or hyperlinks from unknown sources.

To do daily: Scan your PC regularly with anti-virus software.

Do not rush to make purchases and payments online

Fake deals are common online. Both young and old have fallen victim to the fake holiday deal scam.

This is where incredible holiday or share purchase advertisements turn out to be fake after making a payment at a discounted offer; or on special offers for ‘a limited time only.’

The fake good scam is similar, victims of this tactic never receive their goods after making full or part payment.

Fake vehicles scam is the most common – the internet is filled with car dealerships and marketplaces. Like other scams, the fraudster will advertise an incredible deal on a car that does not exist.

You will then be pressurised into making a deposit as there are “other interested buyers”, or other reasons.

Report it: If you receive a suspicious email containing links, forward it to phishing@standardbank.co.za for shutdown.

Business partner or supplies bank account details have changed

Impersonation is the key in this scam as fraudsters manipulate you to think a business partner or supplier’s banking details have changed and the immediate payment be made to the “new” bank account.

Protect Yourself: Always verify that any change to banking details is legitimate by calling the business’s official phone number.

Digital banking is a revolutionary financial solution. It saves a lot of time and evolves the human race. However, with every technological advantage, there is a shortcoming.