Citadele Bank (Latvia)

Scam Attempts Doubled in 2019

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  • In 2019 Citadele observed a double in the number of fraud campaigns
  • In most cases, scammers would not have been able to achieve anything without the actions of clients themselves, for which the main reasons are carelessness, ignorance or gullibility
  • The golden rule: if an offer to save or earn seems too good to be true, then someone who wants to steal your money is probably behind it
  • We remind people that the bank will never send an SMS or email asking people to enter their personal data

“Developments in technology also mean updating cyber security solutions, but these cannot always help if you give scammers your own data. Please bear in mind that, on the internet, anyone can pretend to be anything, and our responsibility is to critically evaluate the information given to us,” concludes the Citadele Head of Cyber Security.

Despite constantly educating the public on fraud methods used to steal money, the number of successful scam attempts is still high. Compared with the previous year, Citadele has observed a two-fold increase in fraud campaigns.

“Last year wasn’t the most peaceful, as we regularly experienced attacks from scammers. The worrying thing is that most of these attacks would not have succeeded without the actions of clients themselves. There are several reasons for that: simple carelessness, ignorance or—unfortunately rather often—gullibility. Therefore you should always remember the golden rule—if an opportunity to save or earn seems too good to be true, there is probably someone who wants to steal your money behind it,” emphasises Kaspars Briška, Head of Cyber Security at Citadele.

The most common fraud methods remain the same

Currently, one of the most common scamming methods is investment fraud, when a person is persuaded to invest in a unique opportunity, and phishing, which uses different methods to persuade people to enter their personal online banking or payment card details on fraudulent sites.

“So far, all cases of investment fraud have fit the pattern of clients receiving a phone call presenting ‘the chance of a lifetime’ to invest and earn money. The caller usually only speaks Russian,” said Briška. “The phone numbers which receive the calls are chosen at random or taken from an illegally-obtained database. It is usually older people who fall victim to these scams, and there have been cases where clients have even attempted to secure a bank loan in order to invest.”

In the second most widespread method, client unknowingly enters his personal information in a fraudulent website, after which scammers can use this information to make purchases, transfer money from the client’s bank account and so on.

“The most typical tools used by scammers are fake online stores or fraudulent links in real online stores, SMS messages and emails claiming to be from the bank which ask people to click on a link to view a message, check on an incoming payment or change their PIN numbers and log in details. Scammers are very creative, and every day sees a new approach to stealing clients’ personal data,” adds Briška.  

Security advice

To protect yourself from scammers, you should ask yourself several questions while shopping online and makinh other financial transactions.

  • When shopping online or visiting the online bank, ensure that the web address written in the address bar is correct. Often, scammers create a page which is almost identical to the online bank, yet whose address is different from the real URL, such as online.citadele.lv.
  • If you receive an SMS or email from any service provider, ensure that the links are not fraudulent, and never open a link if you have any doubt about the authenticity of the message. We recommend verifying the authenticity of the information on the service provider’s website or calling the information number on their website. Remember that the bank will never send an SMS or email asking you to enter your personal information.
  • Check whether an online store has been created by scammers. One of the most widespread methods of fraud is to create an online store website and offer goods at very low prices. Always check whether an online store really exists. You can do this in several ways—searching for online reviews, checking the business registration number, critically evaluating the information given about the company and so on.
  • Take advantage of the mobile app. First, turn on notifications for all card transactions, which will instantly appear on screen, allowing you to keep track of payments; second, indicate in which parts of the world the card may be used (on the Citadele app you can indicate the Baltics, Europe or the world, thus determining the territory where payments are permitted); third, we invite you to block online payments when not necessary; and finally, if necessary, temporarily block the use of your card and cash withdrawals if you have any suspicions regarding the fraudulent use of your card and transactions not initiated by yourself.

“Developments in technology also mean updating cyber security solutions, but these cannot always help if you give scammers your own data. Please bear in mind that, on the internet, anyone can pretend to be anything, and our responsibility is to critically evaluate the information given to us,” concludes the Citadele Head of Cyber Security.  

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