With the Covid-19 pandemic, daily exchanges are more and more virtual. A trend which is not new but which is accelerating and should no longer reverse. Banks had started this development a few years ago. The proliferation of brands without physical offices (Nickel, Boursorama, Hello Bank, Monabanq, etc.), most often subsidiaries of historic parent companies, has fundamentally changed the sector by making their users’ daily lives easier.
However, this simplification is not all good. Scammers and hackers have understood that there were dubious promises of enrichment in this digital evolution. In these times of epidemics, it is important to remain vigilant.
Social networks on the front line
Social networks, in particular, are the playground of scammers. The strategy they use the most is simplistic, even crude, but can trap less attentive internet users. Most of the time, hackers use fake bank accounts to get in touch with customers via the private messaging services of the main social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Messenger, etc.). The catchphrase is often alarmist: a lack of security, the blocking of a credit card or an overdraft to be filled urgently. The objective is to obtain the connection codes to the target’s customer account or information on the bank card (number, expiration date, cryptogram).
To guard against this type of practice, it is sufficient not to give any confidential data on these messaging services. Bank customer services will never ask for account identifiers or card data. In addition, the networks have set up a system for verifying profiles via clear signage after the name of the user, in this case after that of the bank. Without this indication, the account is probably false. These rules to be followed – not to divulge any sensitive information and to verify the identity of your interlocutor – are valid for any dematerialized exchange, email and SMS included.
Beware of good deals
Another big trend on the Internet is the message (email, SMS or instant messaging) that announces good news. An overpayment of taxes, a refund from the CAF, the lucky win of a telephone or a household appliance. Whatever the form, the principle remains the same. It is a question of recovering the banking information of the victim in order to send him the funds which she would have miraculously gained. Some fakes are particularly well done, and it’s no surprise that the less attentive internet users, often the elderly, fall for the trap.
Here again, caution is in order. You should check the links that are provided: most of the time, they are not secure or lead to suspicious sites. If in doubt, it is essential to contact the company or administration in question. The dedicated government site is very useful. Finally, the dangers often come from smartphones and stores (Google PlayStore or Apple AppStore). You should update your applications regularly to avoid malwares like Cerberus, capable of intercepting bank connection codes and security SMS sent to secure exchanges.