Scotiabank Bahamas is warning customers to be wary of fake websites and mobile apps, including those that mimic a bank’s online or mobile portal.
The bank released a statement yesterday urging customers to verify the legitimacy of websites and apps before using them.
Scotiabank Bahamas’ Managing Director Roger Archer explained in the statement that website and app verification is especially crucial as the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted people to use online portals more frequently to purchase goods and services.
He added that the financial industry has “been a key target for scammers who have even created sites that mimic banks’ online and mobile channels”.
“The pandemic has forced many of us to rely on delivery services and more frequent online shopping, as in-person activities decrease,” Archer said.
Scotiabank told Guardian Business that there have not been any local reports of Scotiabank customers being defrauded through fake apps and websites.
In its statement, it reminded its clients that those who attempt to defraud “have become more skilled at setting up fake websites that appear identical to legitimate ones” and offered tips to recognize fake sites.
The bank said people should beware of sites with broken links and no back button, those that are poorly designed, sites with missing contact information like working phone numbers and email addresses and those with no proper sales, return and privacy policies.
“This is important in the event that the customer or the bank needs to seek redress on a purchase or transaction,” Archer said.
Scotiabank added that an obvious sign of a website scam is the request for credit or debit card information before being allowed to browse the site.
Archer said fraudsters are now more frequently using mobile apps to defraud.
“Sadly, despite the increased convenience and safety of using apps and other online tools to make purchases and transact business remotely, there are now more opportunities for hackers to steal a person’s identity and banking information,” he said.
Scotiabank stressed that when downloading an app, users should ensure the app name and spelling are correct, that there is user feedback and ratings and that the app asks for device permissions to use other apps on the phone.
“If an app continuously asks for personal information or has too many pop up ads, users should immediately exit and uninstall the app,” Archer said.
“Be very vigilant and utilize extreme caution while surfing the web. We want to urge all our customers and others to be guarded, especially when entering credit card and personal information.”