It is no longer news that fake bank alerts have been the new scam in town since the inception of internet fraudsters known as “Yahoo Yahoo“.
This latest trend is a threat to business owners, especially vendors that have offices online and do not need physical interactions to deliver goods to their customers.
There have been several outrages by social media users who have fallen prey to these inhumane acts by fraudsters.
Recently, a 45-year-old man was arrested in Oyo State after generating fake bank alerts to defraud Point of Sale (POS) operators and business owners to the sum of millions.
Nothing hurts the average Nigerian more than losing money to fraud, but it even hurts more when they lose their money through fake bank alerts because someone played on their intelligence.
Since this scam is becoming a menace in our society, security agencies are finding it a daunting task to clamp down on these hoodlums, and it is left to individuals to ensure they do not fall for the scam.
How to Avoid Fake Bank Alerts
Fake alerts cannot be entirely avoided as long as we still receive Short Message Service (SMS).
Here are a few things to follow to avoid being a victim.
- Account Numbers and Phone Numbers
It is not strange for someone to request an account number so they can send money, but it will be out of place for them to also want a mobile number, especially when linked to the account.
However, some mobile payment platforms have made it possible for one to use their mobile number as an account number; if you use apps like this, watch out for other red flags.
- Prioritise Email Alerts
It is a known fact that the perpetrators of these acts focus on SMS and ignore email options.
Commercial Banks have an option for receiving alerts in an email at no cost compared to the SMS that has charges applied.
Receiving alerts through emails will help confirm if a credit alert is genuine or fake.
- Mobile Banking App
Banks have made available mobile banking services to help ease transactions between customers.
The mobile apps have several options for viewing account balance, transaction records, recharge options, payment options and several others.
These applications are directly linked to your bank account and can only be accessed with a password generated by the account owner.
When an alert is received, it immediately reflects on your mobile banking app if it is genuine.
- Phishing Links
Avoid clicking on links requesting bank account details or personal information linking to bank accounts.
Phishing links can be through different channels, via email, messages or online platforms.
How to Detect Fake Bank Alerts
If an internet-enabled mobile device is unavailable to receive emails or access mobile banking apps, and the only means to receive alerts is through text messages, closely observe the following red flags.
- Spelling Errors
It has become a norm that when credit alerts are received, we tend to be in a hurry to scroll down to the amount received while we ignore other things.
These scammers try as much as possible to copy the template the receiving bank uses in sending alerts, it is, therefore, essential to know the little details from your bank.
Some banks use uppercase letters to write their details, while others use smaller cases when sending messages.
It is essential to know the bank pattern of sending alert messages, as they are often ignored by scammers.
- Current Balance
As a business owner, it is sometimes difficult to track the current balance because of the frequent inflow into the account.
However, it is important to note the balance before receiving an alert, as this will help to keep track of the total balance.
Fake alerts do not add to the current balance because it is deceit that only shows the amount received.
In conclusion, these few tips will help POS operators, vendors, and small business owners avoid being victims of the Fake Bank Alerts scam.