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Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Advice from Absa

In its constant efforts to maintain high security features around Internet and cellphone banking, Absa urges all customers to guard their identity and personal information with extreme care at all times.

The latest scam entails phoning customers to advise them they have won extra airtime from a cellphone operator. The customers are then asked to supply the last dialled number on their phone to authenticate their identity. This number is then used to perform an illegal SIM swap with the operator. Fraudsters are thus able to receive all of the customer’s calls and SMSs.
Customers’ cellphones will stop functioning a few minutes after receiving the phone call, following the illegal SIM swap.
The relevant cellphone operator should be contacted immediately if a cellphone ceases to work to ascertain whether an illegal SIM swap has been carried out.
Says Christo Vrey, GM Absa Group Digital Channels, “Customers are warned not to divulge information to anybody without ensuring they are, in fact, talking to their service providers and to be vigilant as to the whereabouts of their cellphones and identity documents at all times.”
One security service is Absa’s compulsory Random Verification Number (RVN) is a once-off password dedicated to a particular online function, such as the registering of new beneficiaries. This once-off password becomes obsolete when the online session has been completed.
New transactions will require a corresponding RVN, which is conveniently sent to customers via a cellphone SMS or e-mail. Without access to the customer’s unique RVN, potential fraudsters are prevented from performing transactions on the customer’s cellphone or Internet banking account. In addition Absa provides an optional Internet banking notification service, by which customers can be advised via cellphone SMS whenever a transaction such as a log-on to the service has occurred.
Mr Vrey warns against opening e-mails and attachments from unknown sources, that could otherwise offer an avenue to gain unauthorised access to one’s personal information. “We also recommend frequent changing of PIN numbers.”
Absa has further security advice on its site at www.absa.co.za

Further tips for safe Internet banking:
Do not use obvious passwords such as your spouse’s name or date of birth for your password;
Do not make use of public computers for Internet banking (i.e. Internet cafes);
Ensure that your home computer has sufficient security such as anti-spyware and anti-virus software installed;
Update your computer security regularly;
Make use of your bank’s individual security measures, such as anti-virus software and one-time passwords; and,
Read the security information published on your bank’s website regularly.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:20.4 1st May, 2007
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