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Scotia warns of rise in scams

Finance 07 Jun, 2021 Follow News

Chervain Stuart, Senior Manager in Scotiabank Cayman’s Retail Banking department

Fake apps and websites and email scams are a potential huge threat to people in Cayman, particularly when it comes to people’s finances, so Scotiabank Cayman is putting a warning out to its customers to be aware of such fraud attempts.

The bank is urging its customers to be more vigilant when it comes to navigating websites, using mobile applications and responding to any email requests that appear to be from the bank.

Chervain Stuart, Senior Manager in Scotiabank Cayman’s Retail Banking department, said that there had been multiple attempts by fraudsters who would try to steal funds or obtain customers personal information using these online channels, all across the region.

“In Cayman, we are equally at risk and so customers are also asked to take steps to verify the legitimacy of any email, websites and apps – particularly sites used to conduct purchases and other financial transactions or those requesting personal information,” she said.

Nowadays it is far easier to succumb to such fraud attempts. Ms Stuart said online criminals have become more skilled at creating fake websites and mobile applications that appear identical to legitimate ones, with some fraudsters even selling or attempting to sell knock-off versions of the site’s products.

Users can spot a fraud as broken links and sites that appear to be poorly designed are an immediate tell-tale sign that a website may be fraudulent, she said. Customers should check to ensure that retail websites have up-to-date contact information, such as a working telephone number that a human representative answers; a legitimate email address that ends in @gmail.com, @hotmail.com, @yahoo.com, @[company name.com] or @[company name].org; as well as a mailing address.

“This is important in the event that the customer or the bank need to seek redress on a purchase or transaction,” Ms Stuart explained.

Suspicious requests for personal information email or phishing scams are another way that customers are being deceived.

“Many can be so convincing in appearance that they can be easily mistaken. Email scams often prompt recipients to take immediate action to prevent or stop unauthorised access and in doing so, customers can unwittingly expose their personal information,” she highlighted. “Scotiabank will never request personal information, payments or try to initiate any changes on a customer’s account via email or by asking them to click a link.”

Ms Stuart advised that scammers often create fake correspondence, apps and websites with names that are so similar that a user may not notice the difference. One of the first things that a user can look out for is differences in the name, formatting and general appearance of the online item.

With regard to apps, if the user is bombarded with multiple requests for personal information, several pop-up ads or other abnormal requests, they should immediately exit and uninstall the app.

“It is difficult to provide a full list of methods that are used to scam customers and therefore, we urge vigilance all around. If there are one or more errors in the email correspondence or any other suspicious content that appear while browsing, users should immediately exit the email, site or app,” she advised.

The financial industry has been increasingly a key target for scammers who have even created sites that mimic banks’ online and mobile channels.

“We want everyone to be guarded and if you may have accidentally clicked a link or provided such information, immediate contact should be made with the bank,” Ms Stuart said.

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