Computer theft on rise

HILE you enjoy the World Cup, fraudsters could be working hard to get your money in whichever way possible. Avoid being a victim.

HILE you enjoy the World Cup, fraudsters could be working hard to get your money in whichever way possible. Avoid being a victim.

Absa has warned Internet Banking users of increased spamming, malware and phishing attacks.

Absa says these attacks normally happen around the time of large sporting events like the World Cup.

There are many such fraudsters who use Absa's name in vain.

One such fake e-mail claims the bank has initiated a beneficial programme for numerous of its customers to reward them for their honest and usual patronage.

Another e-mail making rounds is supposedly sent to clients because there is a tax refund to that consumer.

I also received one this Monday claiming I have a R7282,50 tax refund process from Sars @ Jun 2010.

I have not submitted my current income tax returns and I know Sars will not refund me twice.

It purports to be coming from FNB and reads: "We received notification from South African Revenue Service about the TAX refunds of R7282,50.

"We advice (sic) you to go on our secure server to conclude the process of your TAX refund on lo-gin (sic) to your online banking to complete the refund."

Another claims that under the "Absa Must Top Up Programme", the recipient's bank account balance will be credited with a substantial amount during the World Cup.

Consumer Line took the liberty to speak to Christo Very, a managing executive of Absa Digital and Self-Service Channels. He said another such e-mail is one in which their clients are asked to verify their details to be eligible for a windfall.

Very said to be eligible for the "windfall", the e-mail claims that Absa needs to verify your account activities by deducting a minimal amount from it to guarantee your share in the programme.

"It further claims that the deducted amount would be refunded in a few minutes together with the additional funds allocated to you, and then asks you to click on an embedded link to fill in the required information," Very said.

"Absa is not running any programme called 'Absa Must Top Up Programme' and those who fall for the ruse and click on the attached link will be taken to a web-based form that asks them to submit their bank account user name and password, ostensibly to credit their accounts with the funds from the non-existent programme.

"The common defence against e-mail phishing is never to click on the link provided on the e-mail, and never reply to e-mails with your login or personal information.

Handy tips:

l Secure your laptop or PC with a trustworthy security application that will detect malware in malicious e-mails before causing any damage.

l Keep track of your financial records, reviewing credit card and bank statements as soon as you receive them for any suspicious monetary activity.

l Access your Internet Banking session by manually typing the web address into your browser and then click the logon icon.

l Keep your access info secure (account number, user number, and all PIN numbers and passwords).

l Ensure you see a lock icon either at the top of the Internet browser window or at the bottom - depending on your browser.

l Install and regularly update the latest anti-virus software (Absa Internet Banking and Cellphone Banking clients qualify for free first class commercial anti-virus software for their PC or Cellphone).

l Refrain from banking at public terminals like Internet Cafés.

l Only provide credit card details to reputable companies.

l Change your PIN number and Password regularly.