November marks the start of seasonal spending, with consumers looking for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. While this is an exciting time of the year, it is equally critical for customers to be vigilant when shopping to avoid falling victim to fraudsters.
"Shopping sprees are characterised by a rise in attempts to defraud unsuspecting consumers by malicious actors through tricks and scams,” Samuel Acquah, Chief Risk Officer at First National Ghana says. Hence it is always important to be on high alert whether you're shopping in-store or online.
Samuel shares safety tips to help you protect your money against fraudsters lurking online season:
Cybercriminals occasionally create bogus online stores with malicious links that claim to sell hard-to-find items like beauty cosmetics or the latest gadgets. Some even place adverts on websites and social media to lure clients with product photographs, descriptions, reviews, a shopping cart, and a payment process to look credible. If you purchase from one of these rogue stores, your money, payment information, and personal information will be exposed to criminals. The best way to avoid such scams is to shop from trusted providers and platforms. Additionally, always verify any delivery notifications from retailers by calling them or the courier company directly. Never click on links in these notifications.
“First National Bank identified some common fraud schemes and typologies customers fall victim to. These include phishing, vishing and smishing which eventually serve as tools for fraudsters in obtaining your banking login and/or card details.” Samuel says. “Avoid responding to texts, phone calls, or emails that require such confidential information.”
Fraudsters often impersonate bankers, fraud investigators, and customer service consultants to scam consumers. Their goal is to gain access to sensitive information, such as customers username and password as well as One-Time PIN (OTP) required to authenticate transactions or credentials to access your bank accounts. The golden rule is to keep in mind that no reputable institution will ask you to disclose such information to their representatives. It is critical to never share such sensitive information with a third party. “First National Bank will never ask you to process another transaction in order to reverse a wrongful or fraudulent transaction, “Samuel says. “In addition, First National Bank will never ask you for your OTP or confidential information such as your banking password.”
When transacting, consumers should always exercise caution to protect themselves from possible fraud. This can help prevent financial losses and compromising of personal financial information. Precautionary
measures include paying attention to financial institutions' safety guidelines and taking personal responsibility to ensure that safety is always a priority. When you suspect that you have been a victim of fraud, you must notify your financial institution immediately. Our customers can use the First National Bank App to temporarily block, cancel, or replace their cards if they suspect fraud.
To limit the risk of fraud when shopping online, the bank encourages customers to choose the safest payment methods. “Avoid using Instant electronic funds transfer (EFT) payments that require you to expose sensitive information to third-party providers to complete a payment,” says Samuel. "Protecting yourself is not simply limited to your bank card, but also involves being observant and practicing safe banking behaviour all round, online, on ATM machines and over the phone. To help prevent fraud, First National Bank has invested resources to inform, educate and support customers on how to bank safely without falling victim to fraud. General banking safety is a two-way street that requires consumers to exercise caution to avoid falling victim to fraudulent activities,” Samuel concludes.