How to avoid the 10 most common frauds on cards and mobile phones

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Despite the fact that technology is advancing at a tremendous speed, the fact is that criminals are using increasingly bold tactics to attack their victims. The ease of purchasing with one click is also an opportunity for criminals of all kinds to attack.

With the advice of Recovery, Grupo Itaú and loan recovery experts, we have gathered the 10 most common types of fraud that are applied in the market and how to protect yourself from being scammed.

1. WhatsApp scam

This is perhaps the most common scam of the moment, and it starts with cloning a WhatsApp account. After getting your phone number, scammers try to register your WhatsApp account on their device. Whenever they try to do this, the app automatically sends an SMS with a security code to authenticate the operation.

To gain access to this code, criminals send you a message pretending to be from SAC of a reputable company asking for information. It is common to say that it is an update or registration confirmation and therefore they need a verification code.

With the verification code in hand, criminals can clone the account and start borrowing money from your contacts.

The way you can avoid this type of fraud is quite simple, but it goes unnoticed by most people: always make sure that the number that contacted you really belongs to the company it claims to represent.

It is also interesting to configure two-step verification: open the application and click on “account”, then on “two-step verification”. By activating this option, you reduce the chances that fraudsters will succeed in cloning your number.

2. Fraud with fake tickets

This is an older move, but still used a lot. Criminals send a counterfeit ticket via email, SMS or Whatsapp. A boleto is well crafted to look legitimate, usually with a phone carrier bill or health plan. But the money goes to criminals.

The biggest victims of this type of fraud are the elderly or people in debt, since the slips faithfully reproduce the original document of, for example, a health plan or loan repayment.

The tip here is to check the information on the card itself, such as the user’s name and CNPJ. For example: the first three digits of the barcode correspond to the code of the bank responsible for issuing the slip. If the issuing bank is Itaú, the barcode must start with 341.

3. Fake call center scam

This is one of the most complex scams at the moment. Criminals contact you pretending to be an employee of a bank or other company of which you are a client. It notifies you that your account has been hacked or cloned, and from there it starts asking for personal and banking information to fix the problem.

From there, the sophistication of the scam makes it legitimate for even the most observant of people. For example, they ask you to call the bank’s call center from a landline to confirm that the call is genuine. But the line is already intercepted and your data will be stolen.

To avoid this type of theft, the first tip is to never give out relevant financial or personal information over the phone. Serious banks and companies will never call to ask for passwords or your card number.

4. Fake link scam or identity theft

This is one of the most used Whatsapp scams. Scammers send messages via WhatsApp, email or social networks that encourage a person to click on links that, once accessed, install small applications to capture data from their computer or mobile phone.

The advice here is the same one that has been repeated for years against computer viruses: never click on links, email attachments or messages you receive from unknown recipients. Often the message is disguised as a fake promotion, with the name of the sender looking real – often only one letter has been changed, and this already means that it is a scam.

5. Fake motoboy scam

It all starts with a call saying your card has been cloned and asking you to destroy the card without damaging the chip. Motoboy will then go to your address to pick up the destroyed ticket. But if the chip is not damaged, the thief will use it to steal the victim’s money.

This scam only works with distracted people, because banks never ask for a password over the phone, let alone send motoboys to retrieve a destroyed card.

6. Fraud with fake auction

Auctions always bring the possibility of buying something at a price below the market price. The problem is that criminals create fake websites with non-existent auctions. Once you make the payment ―usually via Pix‖, the villains disappear.

7. Fraud of replaced cards

This is a more complicated fraud to detect, because in this case the criminal is, for example, an employee of a store or gas station. The action can be performed in two ways: by viewing the password while entering it or by changing the card when returning it to the customer.

The advice is to be careful when entering the password and always check whether the card has been returned to you.

8. Delivery Fraud

Unfortunately, this scam has become all too popular with the delivery of meals, snacks or pizzas. It works like this: at the time of delivery, the fraudster provides the machine with a damaged screen or sets it up so that you cannot see the amount entered. Instead of the exact price of the product, the amount that will come off your account, in case you don’t get the trick, will be much higher.

Here’s a tip and never accept payment on damaged machines and always check the value that appears on the screen. Another suggestion is to use an app that already registers the card, such as iFood, or to pay with Pixom by contacting the company directly.

9. Cell phone fraud

Although there are politicians who think it is absurd for someone to be arrested for stealing a mobile phone, the fact is that criminals are very active in this area because after theft they can access the data saved on their device, access their social networks and banking applications.

The tip here is to never use the “remember/save password” feature on websites or apps, especially banking ones. Never write down relevant information or passwords in your device’s notebook. Also, if available, use biometrics or facial recognition features to unlock the cell phone screen.

10. Password Fraud

In order for a criminal to access your bank account, he needs a login and password. Therefore, there are several scams and tricks that try to get your password. Therefore, the advice is old: never use the same password for several different services, keep them with the greatest care, do not write them on paper or in the notebook of your mobile phone or computer.

Another suggestion is to always use a secure password manager, like BitWarden, which is free, has a master password, and two-factor authentication.

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