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South Africa: FNB’s 5 Essential Safety Tips to Foil Phishing and Smishing Attempts

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FNB has issued a warning to customers regarding a rise in phishing and smishing attempts targeting unsuspecting customers. Phishing tricks individuals into revealing sensitive information using deceptive methods like fake emails and websites, compromising login credentials, passwords, PINs, card details, and ID numbers. Smishing, on the other hand, deceives individuals into sharing personal information by sending text messages that seem legitimate from reputable institutions.

Trish Ramdhani, Head of Fraud at FNB Card, acknowledges that this type of fraud is not new but emphasizes that the strategies employed by cybercriminals continue to evolve.”This type of fraud is not new,” says Trish Ramdhani, Head of Fraud at FNB Card, “but the modus operandi continues to evolve.” “Unfortunately, despite increasing levels of awareness by financial institutions, some consumers fall for these fraudulent attempts. In recent cases, some consumers received SMSes claiming that their bank requires them to urgently FICA by clicking on a link that takes them to the fraudster’s platform, where their information is then compromised. The technique now includes attempting to entice the user to divulge both their card information and the one-time password (OTP), which is subsequently used to complete successful transactions using smart devices”


Ramdhani advises consumers to remember a simple rule: ”reputable financial institutions will never ask you to click on links”. Furthermore, if there is a message of potential importance, consumers should directly contact the relevant institution using contact details obtained from their official platform to avoid being redirected to a fraudulent “helpline.” Given the increasing sophistication of cybercriminals, it is crucial for consumers to remain vigilant and proactively take measures to protect themselves.

FNB shares the following safety tips:

1. Remain calm: Fraudsters often exploit people’s tendency to act hastily when feeling panicked. Their tactics may involve threats of account blockages or the urgent need to stop identified fraud. Regardless of the scenario, it’s important to remember that genuine financial institutions will never force you to disclose OTPs, PINs, or passwords. In such cases, it is safer to end communication and immediately contact your financial institution.

2. Avoid clicking on the email or SMS links: Exercise caution when opening emails from unknown or suspicious sources. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from these messages because they may contain harmful malware or redirect you to fraudulent websites.

3. Activate two-factor authentication (2FA): Enable 2FA whenever possible, as it adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification step, often sent to your mobile device or an authenticator app, such as the FNB Apps for FNB customers.

4. Follow your financial institution’s recommended card and digital safety measures: While there is a plethora of misleading information about protecting oneself from fraud, it is always advisable to adhere to your financial institution’s recommendations for securing your finances.

5. Keep software and devices up to date: Regularly update your operating system, web browsers, and antivirus software to safeguard against vulnerabilities. Enabling automatic updates whenever feasible ensures that you receive the latest security fixes.

Ramdhani emphasizes that raising awareness is crucial in the fight against fraud and believes that both consumers and financial institutions must remain vigilant. FNB dedicates itself to educating customers through its own platforms and public channels, while also taking decisive action against harmful websites and individuals engaged in financial fraud.

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