Your safety is our priority, and since scammers are always finding new ways to trick us into sharing personal information or parting with our property or money, we are here to update you on the latest scams – and provide practical advice to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
Car recall scam
We know that car recalls are a reality and they do happen from time to time – however they are not always legitimate. In November 2020, a new car recall scam was exposed and the Insurance Crime Bureau (ICB) issued a warning following a substantial increase in cases.
How the scam works:
The scammers contact you, claiming to be officials from the manufacturer and try to convince you that your car needs to be recalled due to a serious malfunction, and they promise to replace it. Once they collect your car, that’s the last time you see it – because when you call to follow up with the dealership, you find out that the recall was fake and your car has in fact been stolen.
Easy ways to protect yourself:
Check that the recall is legitimate – call the manufacturer and/or dealership directly. Do not let anyone collect your car without first making this call. Also ensure that they present the correct credentials to prove that they are legitimate representatives, when they arrive.
Limit the personal information you share on social media and over the phone. Criminals use these details to create a specific profile of their victims.
Always be sceptical when speaking to strangers – check that they are who they claim to be, call the dealership if you are at all unsure.
Immediately report any suspicious calls or any other communication to the authorities, the manufacturer and/or the dealership.
There are high levels of cybercrime in South Africa and the severity of the situation increased in lockdown. According to cyber security provider, Kaspersky, devices affected by cyberattacks increased from under 30 000 daily to 310 000 on 18 March 2020. Lockdown may have eased significantly since then, but heightened vigilance online remains critical.
While there are many cyber threats to look out for, here are some of the most common ones:
Identity theft – as the name suggests, this is when cybercriminals ‘steal’ your identity and pose as you to get access to things like loans and credit.
Phishing – this is extremely common and involves the use of malicious links and attachments in emails. When you open the link or attachment, scammers can steal your information and use it to access your financial accounts. Delete all suspicious emails immediately.
Ransomware – opening malicious links and attachments is one of the ways hackers install ransomware on your computer with the aim of encrypting your files. The hackers then demand payment in crypto currency, like Bitcoin, before they will return your files.
Did you know that we offer Cyber Insurance to protect you against several cyber risks including cyber bullying? Find out more here. Ts & Cs online.
In addition to Cyber Insurance, we offer these helpful tips for staying safe online:
Rule #1 – never click on random links or attachments in suspicious emails or messages.
Learn about the latest scams through reputable sources like bank and insurance company websites.
Use strong passwords and different ones for different sites – your surname followed by your birthday may be the easiest password to remember – and use everywhere – but it’s far from safe. Instead, create different passwords with a variety of upper-case and lower-case letters, symbols, and numbers. If you’re worried about forgetting your passwords, check out apps like KeepSafe. Also, most sites have a ‘Forgot username/password’ option so you can reset your password if necessary.
Check all shopping sites are reputable – look at the URL of the website. If it begins with “https” instead of “http” the site is secure. Also ask friends, family and colleagues if they’ve heard of the site or used it before.
Don’t trust all WiFi hotspots – some scammers create false popular hotspots to gather your personal information.
Daily computer backups are a must – this may seem like unnecessary extra admin, but it should take just a few minutes and will give you more peace of mind.
Thoroughly check your monthly statements to identify unusual/unauthorised transactions or behaviours on your accounts.
Install high quality security software and a firewall on your computer – and update these regularly. It’s definitely worth the investment.
Different login details for different sites – we know it’s easy and tempting but don’t use your social media profiles to log in to other accounts.
The less personal info on social media the better – again, criminals can use your personal details to target you for everything from identity theft to extortion. Also avoid sharing information that alerts criminals when your home is unoccupied. For example, posting on social media that you’re going on a two-week getaway.
The age old saying applies: if it seems too good to be true, it’s not – we’ve all got those emails or SMSs claiming we’ve won or inherited millions. Delete, delete, delete.