How fraudsters are using Absa’s new design to scam South Africans

Absa recently launched its new brand design, marking the shift from a European-owned financial group to a proudly African firm.

While Absa has stated that it is pleased with the transition and the response from the public, a recent phishing email sent to South Africans shows that criminals are also trying to capitalise on Absa’s brand refresh to scam unsuspecting users.

“The email purports to come from the desk of Absa CEO Maria Ramos, and customers are encouraged to click on their ‘New Absa eStatements’ in PDF format, which is actually an HTML file that takes them to a phishing attack website,” Absa said.

“Cyber-criminals such as these employ increasingly sophisticated methods to access customer internet banking information and email phishing scams are but one of the methods they use.”

Absa added that the bank will never ask you to provide your PIN number or account login information either electronically or telephonically.

“Absa will also never contact you to provide sensitive information such as your card PIN, card CVV or online banking password, nor request you to access your online banking profile via hyperlinks or attachments provided in an email,” it said.

“You should never respond to a suspicious looking email or message, or click on a link in a suspicious looking email, but rather delete the email or message.”

Below the bank set out a number of tips to help keep your personal data safe:

  • Always keep your personal access information secure, and change your PIN and passwords regularly.
  • Never open on a link or an attachment within an email claiming to be from Absa as this may link to a fraudulent website or download a virus or keylogging software that will compromise your security.
  • Please do not disclose your secret access credentials to any 3rd party, as this will allow them access to your online profile.
  • Be aware that phishing scams have also been received through instant messaging systems such as GoogleTalk or Skype; as well as through Social Networking websites such as Facebook. When in doubt of the authenticity of a link or a claim, simply don’t click it and delete the message.
  • Install good quality security software and ensure that you have updated to the latest version of your browser. Most of the newer browsers have the inherent ability of detecting fraudulent websites.
  • Don’t bank or shop online when using public Wi-Fi such as those found in internet cafes, hotels, coffee shops, airports or student labs. Key-logging software could be present on the computer, and will send all your personal information through to the fraudster, who could then use this information to clear out your account.
  • Before you bank online, ensure that you are actually within the secure internet banking website. Once you visit and click on the Internet Banking link, you will be redirected to an available banking server.
  • Once there, check the browser address. It should begin with ‘https://’ (not ‘http://’) – the ”s” indicates it is a secure site.
  • Also check the browser for a closed lock and/or key icon – which should either be at the top or the bottom of the screen.
  • When leaving your computer, always end the current session by closing your browser window, and never leave your computer unattended during an Internet Banking session.”

Read: Here is Absa’s brand new look

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How fraudsters are using Absa’s new design to scam South Africans