Staying secure in the digital age
Digital technology has vastly increased convenience for bank customers, but it's also made life easier for fraudsters to trick and cheat people out of their funds.
With the growing popularity and reliance on online purchases, fraudsters are also getting more sophisticated with the ways they deceive and trick unsuspecting shoppers in cyber space using payment scams.
Here are a few common payment scams to watch out for and a few prevention steps to take.
Beware of deals that sound too good to be true. Fraudsters use discounted prices to entice shoppers. Discounted pricing, especially for designer products, is also a red flag of counterfeit goods. When you buy counterfeit goods, you may be paying criminals who then use the money to fund other illegal activities.
Fraudsters sometimes also create a sense of urgency to pressure you into making a snap decision. This can be done through time-limited offers or flash sales, where a product is available at an extremely low price only for a limited period of time.
Fake websites or reviews
Fraudsters can create fake websites that impersonate well-known brands. They may steal logos of reputable brands, the website layout and a similar domain name. They will use these websites to lure you into sharing your personal and financial information with them. They can also use fake reviews to gain the confidence of shoppers. It’s best to avoid products that have no reviews at all, bad reviews, or only five-star reviews that are written in a similar way.
Unusual payment methods
Most reputable online stores will allow you to pay by credit or debit card, or through a secure payment gateway. Be suspicious of any requests for payment through bank transfer or virtual currencies. You should only authorise the payment if you are very sure the other party is legitimate.
Other scams that you should look out for include:
Gift card scams
If you want to buy a gift card, do so only on an authorised retailer's website, instead of an online auction or from any third-party websites.
Beware of fraudulent emails that seem as though they are sent by legitimate delivery companies, informing you that you have an upcoming delivery or that you have missed one. These could be phishing emails from fraudsters who are trying to lead you to a fraudulent website to capture your personal information or infect your device with malware.
Fake charity scams
Be careful when donating to charities that you are unfamiliar with online. Fraudsters can set up fake charities and solicit donations calls, email campaigns, fake social media accounts, websites or even on crowdfunding platforms. You should do your due diligence and ensure that the charity is legitimate before donating.
Tips to stay safe when shopping online:
Spot the warning signs
- When making online purchases, always double-check the website’s authenticity
- Look at the address bar: it is considered secure if the URL begins with “https” instead of “http”, and has a small closed lock symbol
- Red flags include spelling or grammatical errors; time-limited offers, flash sales or discounted pricing; unusual payment request like bank transfer; products that have no reviews, bad reviews, or only positive reviews written in a similar way
- If you’re shopping on an online marketplace, check the website’s safe buying guide before making a purchase. Some online marketplaces will not offer any protection if you make payment outside of the platform
Stop suspicious activity
- Be vigilant at all times. Never open unexpected emails asking you to click on a link to arrange a delivery or make payment
- Always make the effort to double-check the facts and verify that the other party is legitimate before making any payments. Search for the retailer online with terms like “scam” or “complaint” and look for reviews by other consumers
- Do not authorise payments unless you are sure that the other party is legitimate
Report the incident
If you suspect any suspicious activity, report the incident to local authorities or your bank immediately.
Other types of fraud
By making the financial system a hostile environment for criminals and terrorists, we can tackle some of the most damaging crimes of today.
There are many types of financial fraud that you need to look out for, read more below.
Social engineering is the act of tricking you into revealing information such as your personal identification number, or any sensitive information that could later be used for financial gain. Phishing emails are a common type of social engineering attack where you receive emails allegedly from companies you trust asking for your personal information, card or bank details. Always check the source of the link by hovering your mouse over the host email address.
Malware, short for ‘malicious software’, is software that is illegally and unknowingly installed on your computer or mobile device. This happens when you click on a phishing link in an email, visit unsafe websites or download malicious software and mobile applications. Spyware is a common form of malware that spies and collects your card details and passwords.
Card fraud begins with the theft of either a card or its data: name, number, expiration date, and verification/CVV code. Fraudsters commonly acquire card details online via malware, phishing emails, or sometimes from statements thrown in the bin.
The fraudster impersonates you and asks your phone service provider to either replace your SIM card, or move (‘port’) your mobile number to another provider. Once the change is done, they can then gain unauthorised access to your bank accounts by intercepting authentication texts. Keeping your mobile safe is more important than ever.
Elder fraud also known as elder financial abuse or exploitation is the misappropriation of financial resources that results in harm to an elderly victim. The perpetrator could be a stranger, friend or family member. Learn more about elder fraud and how to prevent it.
Scammers ask victims to receive or transfer funds for a small fee. It sounds like easy money, but by agreeing, you could be laundering criminal revenues and participating in crime. Never agree to transfer money for people you don't know.
Business Email Compromise (BEC) Scams
BEC is a type of impersonation scam where the fraudster sends instructions for a change of bank account number or to request an urgent payment. Find out the ways a BEC scam can occur and how you can prevent it from happening.Watch now
Business Email Compromise (BEC) Scams
BEC is a type of impersonation scam where the fraudster sends instructions for a change of bank account number or to request an urgent payment. Find out the ways a BEC scam can occur and how you can prevent it from happening.
ATM scams have evolved with time and they are now usually perpetrated through hacking and usage of devices that can record and steal confidential information from your card. Find out what other ways ATM fraud can occur and how you can prevent it from happening.Watch now
ATM scams have evolved with time and they are now usually perpetrated through hacking and usage of devices that can record and steal confidential information from your card. Find out what other ways ATM fraud can occur and how you can prevent it from happening.
Important Warning: Impersonation Scams
We are aware of instances where Standard Chartered webpages and email addresses have been cloned to mislead customers and capture personal details or offer fake investment opportunities. Examples include (non-exhaustive list) www.scbonds.com, www.sc-wm.co.uk, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are approached by individuals purporting to represent Standard Chartered, particularly where investment opportunities seem too good to be true, you should remain vigilant.
Individuals claiming to represent Standard Chartered may present documents to victims allegedly created by, or linked to, Standard Chartered in an attempt to commit fraud. These documents often take the form of bonds, and other promising market-beating returns. When in doubt, check with the nearest Standard Chartered office before committing your investment. Click here or visit the FCA for the list of fake Standard Chartered email or web addresses.
If you have purchased these bonds or paid any fees as part of such a scheme, contact your bank immediately to stop or recover your payments, and report this to local law enforcement. For more helpful tips on protection against investment fraud, visit the US Securities and Exchange Commission or the UK Financial Fraud Action websites.
Besides fake investments, impersonation scams also take on other forms. Here are a few examples:
- Advance-fee scam: You receive a call informing you that you have won a prize but are required to pay the courier, processing and custom fees to receive it. Payments are usually to an overseas account but after making these payments, the prize never arrives. This scam is also known as the ‘419 scam’.
- Fake emergencies: This could be a social media post of a child requiring funds for critical operation, or a call pretending to be from the hospital or police telling you that your relative has had a life-threatening accident and needs a cash deposit for an emergency life-saving medical surgery.
- Romance scams: Fraudsters pretend to court victims on dating sites. They then request money for things like medicines or travel. The money is paid into an overseas account and immediately withdrawn, making it difficult to recover.
Tips to protect yourself from fraud
See our tips on how you can protect yourself from fraud.
Tips against payment scams:
- Verify that the other party is legitimate before providing payment details.
- Only purchase from secure e-commerce sites. Secure websites begin with “https” as opposed to “http”. Also look for a small closed lock symbol on the address bar.
- When making online purchases, double-check the website’s authenticity.
- Always use strong passwords for your purchasing accounts.
Tips against social engineering:
- Think before you post on social media to avoid unintentionally revealing confidential information that could be used against you.
- Do not click on suspicious advertising links on social media, SMS, mobile chat applications or reply to emails from people you don’t know.
- Always set a strong online banking password and don’t share it with anyone, even if the bank seems to be asking for it. The bank will never ask you for this information.
- Check the authenticity of the sender’s email address before taking any action or hover your mouse over the email address to confirm the domain URL address. If suspicious, report immediately.
Tips against malware:
- Keep your software up-to-date and regularly run virus checks to ensure your mobile device and computer are free of malware.
- Be wary of suspicious email attachments or links especially from unknown senders. Your device can get infected with malware automatically or you can get tricked into downloading and installing malware.
- Don’t use unfamiliar removable drives. Some types of malware can spread by copying themselves to USB flash drives or other removable drives.
- Be wary when connecting to public hotspots, particularly those that do not require authentication, e.g. in airports or shopping malls.
Tips against ATM scams:
- Never give your PIN code to anyone, and always cover the keypad when entering your PIN.
- Avoid using the ATM if the machine looks tampered with, or out of the ordinary such as exposed wires attached to the device.
- If you encounter a jammed ATM, avoid using the other available machines. The ATMs may be deliberately disabled to direct you to use a machine installed with a copying (skimming) device.
- Regularly check your bank account or bank statement for unusual or unauthorised transactions. If you notice any discrepancies, report it immediately.
- Immediately report a lost or stolen ATM card.
Tips against card fraud:
- Shred credit card statements before disposing of them.
- Always check your credit card statements and immediately report anything suspicious to the bank. Even if you’re not sure, report it right away.
- Quick reporting increases your chance of recovery and protects you from further damage.
Tips against SIM porting/swapping:
- Beware of unsolicited calls, texts or emails seeking personal, confidential or financial information even if they appear to be from your bank.
- Always look out for text messages from your bank or telecom service provider advising you of unauthorised activity.
- Check with your telecom service provider immediately if your mobile service stops working unexpectedly.
- Never disclose your online passwords or PINs to anyone. Standard Chartered Bank will never ask you for these details via any of our communications with you.
Better safe than sorry
Regardless of whether the fraud is only suspected or is a confirmed incident, always notify the bank right away. Promptly reporting any possible fraud increases your chance of recovery and helps protect others.