Published in El Pais, november 3rd 2019.
It is getting much easier for fraudsters to obtain personal information from you. I purposely said “obtain” and not “steal” because everyone is giving that information away willingly on social media. They then use this information to try to gain access to bank accounts and anything else they think can be of value to them. Before you freak out there is another step fraudsters need to take before they can finally access your money and that contacts you directly.
First they contact you on the phone usually from an unrecognized number. If you pick up they claim they are from your bank claiming someone tried to use their bank card somewhere in a city you do not live in. This will probably not raise any red flags as banks are known to do this. They will then request a password reset sent to your phone or email which they will ask you to read to them once you have received it. Now they are in and could access your online banking. As a final confirmation they will ask for your PIN number..
This adds to a large list of scams with fraudsters pretending to represent a legitimate organization either asking for information or money but don’t worry, keep these tips in mind and your chances of being a victim of fraud will be drastically reduced.
- Don’t trust the caller ID. Technology makes it easier to pretend to be calling from legitimate numbers. Just because it shows it from the bank doesn’t mean it is.
- Pay attention to the urgency. The more time you have to think the more likely they will be discovered. If the person on the other line is rushing you that could be a sign that they are not who they say they are.
- Be aware of your banks regulations on what they can and can’t ask for. Usually they are not allowed to ask for pins so if they ever do hang up immediately.
- If you are ever in doubt, hang up and call the bank back. If the call is legitimate they will confirm and you can deal with the problem. If not you can relax knowing the criminals got nothing from you.
I have mentioned this many times before, preventing being the victim of fraud simply requires being aware of ones surroundings. It may sound like being paranoid but it can save you a lot of money.