We are experiencing another round of bank account scams – people in Cambridge have lost money this week.
These can operate in a number of ways. Two of the most common are:
1 – Where you have inadvertently given you banking details to a scammer
2 – Where you may be sending invoices out via email, or someone sends and invoice to you, and the scammers intercept that email account and have changed the bank account number on the invoice. So the payment you were making or expecting goes into their bank account instead.
Banking Trojans, malicious programs, phishing and other forms of internet-borne malice are ever-evolving risks that keep escalating in numbers and sophistication.
With that, most threats still need user interaction to help usher them into a PC or mobile device. This is where anyone can apply some extra precautions to safeguard against the latest cyber-crime schemes.
Most cases of PC malware infections begin with spam email that tricks victims into navigating to a spoofed URL or opening a malicious attachment.
Those who frequently conduct online banking away from home should never access personal accounts from public computers. Online banking should be carried out from trusted or secured Wi-Fi networks, over a secured VPN connection and through devices protected by security solutions.
Stay away from unsolicited email. Seriously. No matter how tempting a subject, if you did not solicit it, did not make a purchase and were not expecting an invoice or package there is a very good chance it is some kind of scam.
Be especially wary of attachments and examine them for their true extension type. Most malware is actually an executable, like an .exe file; a container file, like .zip or .rar; or an Office spreadsheet or document with macros that, in some cases, run automatically. Don’t let that happen.
Email is not a bulletproof communication method. In fact, it’s the favored method by which phishers, spammers and other cyber-criminals spread their malicious schemes.
More Computing Hygiene Tips
Some additional computing hygiene tips can go a long way toward helping users protect themselves from run-of-the-mill malware:
- Don’t unsubscribe from spam. Instead, mark it as spam or junk and keep your email address private. Spam botnet operators look for unsubscribers to reply so they can verify that the address is active.
- Always update your operating system as soon as new updates and patches are available.
- Ensure you have good antivirus software and that it is up to date. Free is usually not best.
- Delete software you no longer use. Duly update all programs you do use.
- Ignore free offers. There are no free meals on the internet. Whether it’s a free game, free software or free anything, you’re likely giving out something without knowing it.
- If you are using personal email at work, never open attachments on your work endpoint. Refrain from sending sensitive work data to and from that personal email box.
- Don’t set up or alter a bank account number solely based on an email, it could easily have been intercepted and doctored. Ring or email them and ask for separate verification of the bank account number, preferably get them to send a copy of a bank deposit slip.
- I know it is painful but you should change your banking login passwords regularly. Make sure it’s different to every other password you ever use, never ever share it, and don’t store it anywhere but in your brain.