ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BANK SMS ALERT
Losing your money can be painful but will be more painful when the factor that caused is what you could have avoided. The error of losing money to someone who used fake bank alert can make you look stupid.
Bank alert scam became popular a few years ago following the increasing number of people using bank accounts and the introduction of the SMS alert services in various banks. SMS service is meant to help keep you informed in all the activities going on in your bank account such as credit alert, debit alert, Bank charges alert, and bank security tips alert. This service cannot be complete without you visiting the bank and filling the form for SMS alert. Using the service may have a monthly small charges deducted from your bank account by your bank.
The form you will fill for the SMS alert will authorize your bank to link your mobile number with your bank account such that the bank will be sending automated SMS regarding the activities in the account.
Using the bank alert to inform bank customers had been very effective since it was introduced. However, because it was a new system of banking that is not peculiar to so many people, fraudsters capitalized on it to defraud so many people their money especially the elderly people who are not technologically inclined.
Though the pattern of defrauding people with SMS alert has reduced significantly because of the awareness and efforts put in place by banks to make it possible for their customers to identify a true SMS alert from the bank and differentiate it from a fake one coming from a fraudster, the practice still lingers in most places especially the rural areas that have a large number of people that rarely understand how the service works.
This post will be centred on various ways you can overcome the temptation of those fraudsters by helping you to clearly understand how to differentiate the fake SMS bank alert from the true one. We will discuss the patterns they are using, and how you will overcome them.
PATTERNS FOR SMS ALERT
Provide your account details on a piece of paper
Someone who wants to defraud you with bank SMS alert will ask you to write down full details of your bank account such as account number, account name, the bank, and your mobile phone number on a piece of paper. Though this does not imply that anyone who asks you to write out your bank account number for transfer purpose is a fraudster, the difference is the limited information.
When giving out account details for mobile transfer, you should give out the account number and the bank name only. During the transfer, the sender supposed to see your name after putting our account number and the bank name that will be a confirmation that the transfer is real.
In other words, someone making a transfer to you should be able to ask you if the name he/she sees on the mobile phone screen is yours. If the name called happens to be your name especially when you did not give out your name, then it is a real mobile transfer.
Try to know your phone number
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, someone making the transfer to your bank account has no business with your mobile phone number. The phone number is with the bank and the transfer message is coming from the bank, so keep your mobile phone number away from any place you wrote your account number and the bank name for USSD mobile transfer.
A fraudster would find possible means t get your phone number before making the fake mobile transfer. Note that the collection of your phone number needs to be done earlier before the business is executed, so such people may collect your number and schedule a day that the payment will be made. This will provide time to configure the SMS alert properly. Sometimes they may take weeks to gather vital financial information about the victim.
The key here is that your business phone number should not be associated with your bank accounts rather your private number should be used for that purpose. This pattern will help you know a criminal who mistakenly sends a fake bank alert to your business phone number.
May tell you about service problem as a dealer for alert
Another signal is a service problem. An experienced SMS scammer can experience a delay in sending the fake SMS because the information gathered was not enough. In that case, the scammer would like to attribute the lapses to network failure with an excuse that the alert will come later.
This pattern can hardly play in cities because no one will allow you to leave without confirming a bank SMS alert after transfer. But those in rural areas still fall to this trick basically because they trust the person or know the person house.
Uses your close contacts
SMS scammer can use your close contacts to get vital information about you such as your private number, your email address, and your full name. Such information will be enough to use and trick anyone who is not careful with fake SMS bank alert.
HOW TO IDENTIFY FAKE BANK ALERT
TIME OF ALERT
The time any bank alert occurred is very important. Typically, a bank SMS alert usually occurs within one minute to one hour or two hours. If someone bought something from you and make a mobile money transfer the first thing is to check the time of the transfer.
NAME OF THE SENDER
Genuine bank SMS alert contains the name of the sender and some digital codes specifying the transaction details. Though a scammer can provide this information in fake SMS alert it is still a way of knowing fake alert from armature scammers.
DID YOU GIVE OUT NAME?
Most authenticate way to catch or scare away SMS scammer is by telling anyone making a transfer to you that the name shown as the account owner should be called out for you.
This will make it possible to catch the scammer since your bank account name is not known to him. However, this method only works if the scammer has not carried out some information research about you otherwise he can simply call your name as the name shown on the transfer. That may convince you to assume it’s real.
To avoid this, don’t give out your bank account name to the one making the transfer.
BALANCE IN THE ALERT
Every bank alert comes with an account balance. This is what scammer find very difficult to manipulate. Someone may know your Bank account number, Bank account name, and Bank account phone but wouldn’t be able to know how much you have in your bank account. The reason is that such information can only be possible if the person is working with a staff of your bank or has somehow accessed your phone to see the last balance in your bank account from the last bank alert SMS you received.
To catch a scammer false bank alert, look at the SMS carefully to see if there is an account balance in it. If there is, how much is showing in the SMS?, did it tarry with the actual balance you have in your bank account?, if all these are correct then check other factors before believing or the alert likely be true especially if the person is a total stranger and never comes close to you before then.
CALL YOUR BANK
This option can be important if you are dealing with a large sum of money that you can’t afford to lose. The best option is to put a call across to any of your bank staff contacts you have to help you confirm the alert from their end.
It is the safest and surest way of catching scammers but it involves you going the extra mile to establish personal contact with one staff in your bank customer care section or your account manager.
DIAL YOUR USSD CODE TO CONFIRM BALANCE
Once you receive the bank alert, use your bank USSD code (if you don’t know your bank USSD code, please visit your bank to help you understand more and link your phone number to it) to verify immediately. It takes a few seconds or minutes to get a response for your account balance. If the alert received did not reflect in the bank account balance you checked it may likely be a false Bank SMS alert.
At this stage, I assume you have gotten some ideas about Bank SMS alerts and how to identify fake Bank SMS alert. All you need now is to apply the points highlighted above to catch any SMS alert scammer that comes your way.