Cybersecurity: A crucial step to protect your digital life and finances

Don't be a victim of cybercrime - Be vigilant and stay safe!

N-J Maree

N-J Maree

Supervised Representative

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Cybersecurity: A crucial step to protect your digital life and finances

In recent times, we have seen and heard of increasing cases where clients or their loved ones have been compromised by criminals. These are not criminals who come through your front door or target your physical property and possessions. The criminals we are referring to are the digital ones trying to illegally profit off unsuspecting individuals, such as by clicking on an email link, accessing a webpage, or buying something online. We urge all clients to be vigilant in this regard and we would encourage you to consider this article in terms of how you respond to digital risks in your day-to-day life.

In today's digital world, cybersecurity has become a crucial aspect of every individual, organisation, and government. Cybersecurity refers to the practice of protecting personal information, computer systems, networks, and electronic devices from unauthorised access, theft, and damage. With the increasing number of cyber-attacks, cybercriminals are using more sophisticated methods to steal sensitive information, financial data, and personal details, making it more important than ever to stay vigilant. Fraudsters’ plans are elaborate and make you believe it is real – they may have spent months planning the attacks so that you are not even suspicious when you are being conned.

At NFB, we are in the process of further enhancing measures to increase our cybersecurity and procedures relating to how we communicate and receive our client’s information. First and foremost, we are focusing on staff awareness about the risks of cybersecurity. Our staff are trained on identifying suspicious activities to help protect our clients and their information. Secondly, we are exploring ways to protect sensitive client information and information that may be at risk of being used fraudulently. For example, we are encrypting client portfolio review reports and bank details transmission outside of NFB. For clients with Investec CCM and/or Nedbank Corporate Saver accounts, you may receive increased telephonic payment confirmations and requests for verification requirements. This includes requests for verification relating to supplier invoices, beneficiary banking details, and changes to contact details. This is all to ensure that we remain vigilant and counter cybercriminal activities where possible.

If you are uncertain or suspicious of any communication or information you receive from NFB, please call and speak to your advisor or their assistant to confirm the communication. There have been recent changes to the advisors' teams and assistants, so please confirm with your advisor if you receive communication from a new member of NFB or anyone you are unfamiliar with. As mentioned above, it is unfortunately impossible to cover exhaustively all types of scams and fraud.

Fraudsters are continually finding new ways to target victims, but there are some tips below on how to identify and avoid scams where possible.

Things to look out for: 

  • If what is being offered sounds too good to be true, it is most likely a scam.
  • Even if an email appears to be from someone you know within an organisation, it could be fraudulent. Always verify the underlying sender email address and contact the supposed sender to confirm the authenticity of the email.
  • Fraudulent emails often mention the issue of fraud itself, which may seem counterintuitive, but it's a tactic to catch people off guard.
  • Scammers often use time pressure, such as sending an email claiming that fraud is being committed on one of your accounts and urging you to urgently call a specific number provided in the email to prevent further loss of money.
  • Emails may reference institutions like your bank, SARS, or the Post Office, with instructions to click on a link or call a number to avoid "further penalties."
  • Emotional topics like fraud, taxes, penalties, or fines are used to cause panic and lower your guard.
  • Scammers may create fake call centres, provide some of your personal information (such as your name, ID number, address, or bank account number), or escalate to fake managers to create the illusion of legitimacy.
  • You may be pressured to confirm your personal details quickly, pay a small fee to claim a prize or release a package, or prevent your accounts from being frozen.
  • If you're asked to click a link to unfreeze your account or profile, ignore the email and contact the institution's call centre instead.
  • You should never provide your personal details via hyperlink, attachment, or over the phone, including login details, pin codes, OTP (One Time Pin), or passwords.
  • Be cautious of receiving new banking details for a payment, which should prompt you to pause and investigate further.
  • Payment details should never be provided in an unencrypted format (such as in an email or attachment).

How to try and avoid scams:

  • The key rule to avoid scams is to treat any communication you receive with suspicion.
  • If you receive an SMS or email from an institution, never call the number provided in the communication. Instead, find the institution's call centre number on their website or call a representative you are familiar with.
  • Never give out an OTP (One Time Pin) unless you have initiated the request or have confirmed the intention.
  • If you're unsure about urgent requests, take your time and don't be afraid to pause and say that you'll call back to check the details with a trusted individual first.
  • Don't click on any links you receive via SMS, WhatsApp, or email.
  • When transferring money, it's advisable to confirm any payment details you receive over the phone, especially if they have been sent to you in an unencrypted format.
  • When in doubt, call your advisor or assistant whom you are familiar with.

The impact of a cybersecurity scam can be devastating, so it's always better to be safe than sorry, even if it delays transactions or plans. If you feel unsure about something, do not move forward – rather ask a trusted individual such as your NFB advisor for input.

By following these tips, you can help protect your digital life from the threat of cybercrime.


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