The age of internet and digitization has made our lives easy and brought a lot of convenience. With a few clicks and taps you can send money to anyone at any time anywhere. You can also buy items online and they are delivered right at your doorstep.
While on one hand it has provided convenience to us, we have also been exposed to fraudsters and scams and we need to know how to protect ourselves and build on the gains achieved through digitization of services.
In today’s world, losing your personal information can cost you dearly financially and could also give criminals leeway to misuse your identity including committing crimes.
Such incidences are quite many with cons preying on unsuspecting mobile subscribers. Once they obtain sensitive information, they can withdraw money from your accounts or use the information to scam other members of the public.
There are some red flags to look out for before divulging your information. For example, if you are an Equity Bank customer:
The first indicator is the contact of the sender. Whereas the user ID of genuine messages from Equitel/Equity Bank shows the name ‘Equitel/ Equity Bank’, fraudsters will use unofficial numbers claiming to be sending messages on behalf of the Equitel or Equity Bank.
Also, the phone number the criminals use to send the message is different from the one they call you with.
A common message the fraudsters have sent to mobile subscribers is alerting them that their ‘account has been blocked or linked to another account’ thus creating panic.
Some of the common scams fraudsters use;
SMS Scams: SMS scams involve fraudsters claiming to be from Equitel asking for confirmation of receipt of funds/payments or warn users that their accounts have been compromised or tampered with.
Note that: Equitel messages always have a sender's title reference “Equitel” or “Equity Bank”.
The messages will never be sent using personal numbers with prefix that start with 07xx xxx-xxx.
Network Scams: Fraudsters will pretend to be Equitel/ Equity Bank staff and visit users while asking them to give them their phones under the disguise that they are testing network signal strength. They get the user’s personal information and then use this data to access accounts.
False Promotions: Fraudsters also take the opportunity to defraud people when companies are rewarding their customers through marketing promotions. They take advantage of these to swindle customers by offering parallel and fake promotions.
In order to stay safe, you should avoid participating in any promotions that are not licensed or not advertised by Equitel or Equity Bank.
Be cautious if a caller asks for any personal details like PIN, ID number, bank details or any personal details over the phone; Equity Bank or Equitel staff would never ask for these details.
Steps to take when you notice suspicious activity:
Forward the fraudulent message for free to 333.
Call 100 from your Equitel line for free
Call 0763 063 000 from any other mobile network
Report them at your nearest Equity Bank branch, Equity Agent or Police Station.
As for your PIN number:
Avoid using obvious PIN choices like birthdays or consecutive numbers like 1234 or 7777 or 9876.
Change your PIN periodically.
Should anyone ask for your PIN, or ask you to dial and input your PIN, immediately terminate the call and forward the number used to reach you to 333.