With the increasing reliance on mobile devices for various transactions, the threat of mobile fraud has become a significant concern for individuals and businesses.
A recent study by the Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC) reveals that mobile fraud accounted for the highest amount of money lost through fraud by Nigerian banks in the first quarter of 2023.
“In the first three months of 2023, mobile fraud rose by N1.1 billion, an 18.3 percent increase from N938 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2022,” it said.
The report indicates that the rapid growth of mobile banking and digital transactions provides more opportunities for fraudsters to exploit security vulnerabilities.
What is mobile fraud?
Mobile fraud refers to any deceptive activity or unauthorised transaction conducted through a mobile device. Common examples include identity theft, phishing scams, and the distribution of counterfeit mobile applications.
Fraudsters often exploit vulnerabilities in mobile operating systems and applications to gain access to sensitive information, causing substantial financial and reputational damage to their victims.
How does mobile fraud happen?
The increase in mobile fraud attempts is due to several factors such as the lack of device security and the theft of mobile phones or credit cards.
However, these scams happen in basically three ways: phishing, public WiFi or fake websites and apps from online platforms.
When you install a fake app on your phone, for example, it automatically downloads a virus. This way, the fake pages display unmissable offers and, by simulating the purchase, it offers only the option of paying by credit card, and this time is when the data is stolen.
Phishing is a type of attack that usually starts with an email requesting a click to activate a particular page or access (from a bank, for example) and when you click, you are redirected to a fake page that asks for your data.
Mobile fraud via public WiFi happens when a person connected to the same network as you has bad intentions and performs the attack in real-time, directing you to a fake website to be able to access your personal or credit card data.
How to protect yourself from mobile fraud?
•Use verified apps only
Mobile apps have changed the way we shop and transact. Every time you install an app on your device, make sure you are using a verified app.
•Browse on authorised websites only
Beware of imposter websites that may look professional or carry the same domain name as the original one in the URL. Look for “https://” before “www” and the lock icon on the address bar of your browser.
•Use secure connections only
The urge to use free WiFi at a cafe, hotel lounge or airport can also lead to financial fraud. Avoid using public hotspots for making a financial transaction.
•Use strong passwords
Update your PC/laptop and mobile security to prevent online mishappenings. Also, always set up strong passwords with a combination of special characters, letters, numbers and upper and lowercase. Don’t forget to change the passwords on a regular basis.
•Don’t share personal information with anyone
Never share your personal information online or offline, unless you are absolutely sure about the authenticity of the representative. There can be a possible scammer hiding behind a stranger or any third party posing as an executive from a bank or financial institution.
•Never click on suspicious links on SMS or emails
Link baiting, spurious emails and SMS are the most common forms of trapping people into fraud. These links may seem genuine and attract your attention with claims of a lottery or a job overseas. Do not follow any such links, as they may lead you to a phishing site and rob you of your mobile’s security features.