What senior citizens can do to keep their money safe from cyber criminals

02 November 2020 – As South Africa continues to observe Cyber Security Month, it is opportune for every citizen to refresh their knowledge on ways to protect both their information and money against cyber criminals. Whilst cyber security awareness is vital for all in society, it is important to acknowledge that senior citizens are often the most vulnerable to fraudulent attempts.

According to Giuseppe Virgillito, FNB Head of Digital Banking, whilst the growing use of technology has been a game-changer in terms of efficiencies that save money and time, the new era requires people to stay up to date and to always be cautious about sharing personal and banking information.

“Managing one’s money is a collective effort between the customer and a bank, however criminals are aware that banks continue to make substantial investment in security systems, therefore they predominantly target customers when attempting to defraud. Often, the victims are senior customers who either welcome unsolicited help or those who are unfortunately unaware of modus operandi. To prevent this, we at FNB have been investing a significant amount of resources to inform, educate and support seniors and all other customers to safely use digital platforms,” he says.

Virgillito says banking customers should not only be vigilant when using physical environments such as ATMs but they should also exercise heightened caution when using virtual or digital platforms like a banking App, online banking and cellphone banking.

In particular, he advises senior citizens to always remember the basics of banking safely :

  • Secure your password and PIN – It is in the best interest of the users to memorise their banking password or card PIN. Avoid sharing passwords with anyone (including family) or saving it on pieces or paper, notebook, email, or text.
  • Check your bank statements and inContact’s regularly – Check your bank statement at least once a week or every other day to account for all transactions, big or small. Also take note of any inContact’s (via App or SMS that you receive). In case of any suspicious activity, report immediately to the banks and the fraud department (0875759444) or via the App Report fraud functionality, located at the top of the inContact folder on App.
  • Beware of Phishing, Tricksters, and Mimics – Scammers often pretend to be someone you may trust, like a banking official, an insurance agent or even a job provider. They may try to persuade you into revealing sensitive information like an OTP (One Time PIN – used to approve a financial transactions) or you login credentials. Don’t give out any card details, email addresses and other personal details to unknown persons. Avoid responding to such texts, phone calls, or emails. FNB and their representatives will never ask you for your OTP or login credentials or to complete a transaction on the App to ‘reverse’ a so-called fraudulent transaction.
  • Report lost cards, devices or suspicious account activity immediately – If your debit card or credit card is lost or stolen, immediately contact your bank and ask them to block the card. FNB customers can also use the App to immediately cancel the card and order a new one. Similarly, when your device with your linked FNB Banking App is lost or stolen, please contact the Bank immediately to delink your App. We also strongly advise you use a passcode on all your devices.
  • Protect your information – If you are contacted by a legitimate bank representative, know that they will never ask you for your password, PINs or OTPs. If you feel suspicious of a call, rather end the call and contact the bank using your regular point of contact.  All our Call Centre numbers are available on the App under Information > Contact us. In addition, make informed choices regarding which email address to use, when it comes to sharing payments and sensitive information, as some email services are not secure. Enable additional security-related features to protect your email account, such as two-factor authentication.

“We remain committed to protecting our customers against fraud and encourage them to use any of our banking interfaces to immediately report any suspicious transactions on their bank accounts. We

also encourage them to make sure that they take the proper precautions to ensure that their bank cards and information are safe.

We also implore all our customers to please help educate senior citizens in their immediate circles about the above, whether it be grandparents, elderly parents or any close friends of the family.  Just as customers wouldn’t leave their cash lying around, their bank card and information should equally be as safeguarded,” concludes Virgillito.


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