Become the “first line of defence” against fraud 

Senior banker urges customers to take proactive steps during the festive season

 Kingston, Jamaica – November 23, 2023 -Local banking customers are being urged to become the "first line of defence" in combating growing incidents of card fraud and cybercrime in Jamaica. The cautionary warning is supported by Bank of Jamaica data with reported statistics of increases of approximately 33% increase in internet banking fraud due to online banking usage since 2018.

According to Hughton Leslie, Senior Manager, Digital Banking Channels, Scotiabank, especially as the festive season approaches, Scotiabank is re-doubling its efforts to prevent customers from falling victim to cybercrime schemes perpetrated by technically adept swindlers, some of whom operate across international borders. We are therefore using the opportunity to strongly urge customer education and the proactive safeguarding of financial information and other personal data,” he highlighted.

“As bankers, we have had to continuously keep abreast of information on evolving methods of fraud, but it is also crucial that customers are able to identify red flags and know that they should contact their branch or customer care personnel to report any suspected fraud attempts,” Leslie also emphasized.

The Scotiabank executive also warns customers to be wary of increases in phishing – a broad term for scams initiated electronically; vishing – which involves phone or video-based targeting; and smishing – fraud perpetrated through SMS text messaging. Other fraud schemes include promises of free or discounted luxury items, investment schemes, charity and romance scams, and employment promises.

“Though their schemes vary, fraudsters have the same broad strategy: to exploit vulnerabilities and gain the trust of their potential victim,” Leslie explained.

According to Leslie, the script of fraudsters tends to centre around inducing the account holder to quickly click a link to obtain a particular benefit or to prevent the risk of losing access to one's account. That false sense of urgency generally causes customers to jump at an opportunity, often with dire consequences.

Here are a few tips from Scotiabank on safeguarding your money from fraudsters: 

Hughton Leslie
Senior Manager, Digital Banking Channels

  • Guard your PINs and passwords as you would cash. Don't write them down anywhere or allow anyone to have access to them.
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails or phone calls requesting personal or financial information.
  • Don't click on links in emails or messages from unknown sources, and don't download attachments unless you are sure they are safe.
  • Use strong and unique passwords: Avoid using easily guessable passwords or ones that have been used before.
  • Check the address of websites before entering personal or financial information. Only use trusted websites.
  • Avoid unsecured public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions. Public Wi-Fi networks may not be secure and could allow hackers to intercept your data.
  • Ensure that your computer and mobile device software is up to date, including your antivirus and anti-malware software.
  • Contact your bank immediately if you believed your account has or could be compromised by a fraudster, there may still be time for action to be taken to prevent loss.