Protect your ID and money

To help curb fraudulent scams, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has launched a crime prevention campaign since the middle of this month to focus on phone scams.

THIS Wednesday is Social Media day. As billions of people use the networks globally in some form or another on a daily basis, they are bound to be the main targets of cyber criminals.

More than half of the world’s population or 4.2 billion people are on social media, of which 28 million are from Malaysia. There are 6.6 billion online users globally.

All these are tempting targets for cyber criminals as the users search, share, shop, transact, stream and do a lot of things on social media networks.

Scammers continue to use new ways to get your money and personal details.

Anyone can be tricked and become a victim if you let your guard down as unwanted messages and solicitations bombarded us regularly through junk mails, spam emails and robocalls, said a report.

A cyberattack can be in the form of a scam or phishing and if you fall victim, the consequences are damaging. Some people have even lost their life savings to scammers.

UOB on its website has warned users to be wary of such schemes that promise unrealistic and abnormally high returns.

It said there are many scams related to money-game schemes such as “skim cepat kaya’’, targeting the members of the public.

Data from the Royal Malaysian Police showed that RM288mil was lost last year involving 6, 003 fraudulent scam cases. A year earlier, the losses amounted to RM255mil, involving 5, 725 cases.

Up to March this year, there were over 1, 400 cases reported involving RM38mil losses.

There were many other scams in the past including the Macau, travel package, land, lottery, Casanova and the bank officer scams.

The pandemic also saw a rise in newer scams such as online face mask scams, fraudulent sale of PPE and fake drugs and test kits.

Our handphones are an important tool for communication, sharing of information and also serves as our ID when we need to identify ourselves to other accounts.

To help curb fraudulent scams, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has launched a crime prevention campaign since the middle of this month to focus on phone scams.

It covers three types of phone scams – voice phishing (caller impersonates an authority to obtain personal banking information) and SMS scam (an SMS requesting confirmation of a banking transaction via an included phone number or link to a fraudulent website).

The other is transaction authentication code scam where the victim is contacted by the scammer impersonating a family member or a friend asking for the TAC number, claiming that it has been accidentally sent to them.

“The word is to be cautious when receiving unsolicited calls or messages via SMS from unknown individuals and to immediately refer suspicious incidents to the relevant authorities, ” MCMC said.

Take your own steps to protect your money and your ID and try not to fall for these scams or phishing.

“There are three different techniques used to usurp social media accounts and it is via fake websites, domain name systems (DNS) hijacking and infected routers, ’’ said CheckPoint Software Technologies, a cybersecurity solutions provider.

“Review URLs, do not click on unknown links, avoid sharing personal information or being wary of spelling mistakes in emails, ’’ it said.

It added that one should be wary of emails suggesting a password change.

Even WiFi hotspots can be used by hackers as they can set up fake hotspots to retrieve your personal information and previous activities. Use your own data for Internet connections.

For social media accounts, activate the two-factor authentication to prevent outsiders from logging in using your ID, a report said. It also pointed out that you should look for the “https’’ in the URL as the extra “s” is for secure and a small lock icon on the address bar.

If you need to get a loan, get it from authorised financial institutions as scammers can trick you.

Often they will approve loans without collateral and the approvals are super fast but there will be an upfront payment needed. Once the scammers got hold of the money, they will simply disappear.

Scammers can also trick you to give your personal information in order to steal your passwords and account numbers, and they could easily gain access to your email, bank account and others.

Never share your bank account details with others as someone can use your account to launder money or run some scams, a report said.

Another report added that when on social media, one should know who one is dealing with. Do not open suspicious text, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in email. Just delete them.

You are in charge of your personal details and passwords, please do not share them with others. Know who you are dealing with when on social media.

While phone and Internet scams are common, anyone can approach you on the street to offer attractive prizes.

The catch is normally that you put a deposit. Once you do that, you can say goodbye to that money.

If for some reasons you have been scammed, best to contact your financial institution and make a police report. Also, ensure that you keep records of all your financial transactions.

While money is important, in trying to make more money, try not to fall for easy-rich schemes or scammers.

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