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Business 08 Nov, 2023 Follow News

Chervain Stuart

Bank customers in the Cayman Islands are urged to be the “first line of defence” in combating cybercrime and to exercise extreme caution as scammers seek to target accountholders through dubious emails, SMS text messages or deceptive links.

The warning, issued by senior banker Chervain Stuart, Director, Retail Banking, comes amid growing concern about cybercrime schemes, some of which operate across international borders.

Bank customers she says have become more vulnerable to the reach of cyber fraudsters because of the global ubiquity of the cell phone and reliance on internet connectivity, which has soared during and since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Against the backdrop of last month’s commemoration as Cybersecurity Month, Stuart , has advised account holders to proactively safeguard their financial information and other personal data.

“Besides the security features we have implemented to shield clients from scams, customers have to be the first line of defence in the war against fraud,” said Stuart.

Banking industry stakeholders are lobbying account holders to arm themselves with information on evolving methods of fraud. Stuart also said that “it is crucial that customers are able to identify red flags and to contact their branch or customer care personnel to report fraud attempts.”

The Scotiabank head of retail banking also warns customers to be wary of phishing – a broad term for scams initiated electronically; vishing – which involves phone or video-based targeting; and smishing – fraud perpetrated through SMS text messaging. Other fraud schemes include fake websites; investment, charity, and romance scams; and job rackets.

“Though their schemes vary, fraudsters have the same broad strategy: to exploit vulnerabilities and gain the trust of their potential victim,” Stuart said.

Here are a few tips from Scotiabank on safeguarding your money from fraudsters:

• Guard your PINs and passwords as you would cash. Don’t write them down anywhere or allow anyone to have access to them.

• Be wary of unsolicited emails or phone calls requesting personal or financial information.

• Don’t click on links in emails or messages from unknown sources, and don’t download attachments unless you are sure they are safe.

• Use strong and unique passwords: Avoid using easily guessable passwords or ones that have been used before.

• Check the address of websites before entering personal or financial information. Only use trusted websites.

• Avoid unsecured public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions. Public Wi-Fi networks may not be secure and could allow hackers to intercept your data.

• Ensure that your computer and mobile device software is up to date, including your antivirus and anti-malware software.

• Contact your bank immediately if you believe your account has or could be compromised by a fraudster, there may still be time for action to be taken to prevent loss.

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