Bank scams are dangerous and undesired, yet they evolve and adapt as people change the way monetary transactions are handled.
Gradually, the days of cold hard cash are diminishing as electronic transfers dominate monetary transaction. ATMs are still frequently visited, but could become unnecessary, because e-wallets and bank app transactions are an emerging method of payment.
There are many benefits that come with this change; safer transactions, convenient bill payments, easy reference and many more. But all these new feature are still unable to deter financial scam and fraud.
Internet scams appear at the least expected moments. They ensure their deception doesn’t sprout suspicion, and are pretty good at adapting to ever evolving methodologies.
The trending bank scam in Malaysia
Gone are the days of a rich but distressed Nigerian Prince asking for help through emails. Over the years, Malaysians have witnessed many types of scams. But the thing about them were, once exposed of its methods, people seem to be less likely to fall for it, so the scammers had to change their game plan.
The most recent and trending one in Malaysia are TAC scams. TAC (Transaction Authorisation Code) are the 6-digit codes that payers get through SMS when doing online banking transactions. These scams have already happened everywhere, from Kuching, Kuantan, Johor, Penang, and more.
It only works when the scammers have already stolen your bank details, but they’d need the TAC numbers the bank sent to authorize the transaction. This is where the victims play their role, the scammers call and gives a story about how they’ve made an accidental transaction and asks the victim for the 6-digit TAC.
Once this code is given to the scammer, they would have withdraw any amount of money they desired in that single transaction. And this sometimes goes on for multiple victims in a row.
As gully as this scam sounds right now, we shouldn’t play the victim blame gamebecause these methods would have never been heard of until a herd of prey has emerged. It seems obvious now only because it’s exposed.
Malaysians distrust online banking, but is most gullible when it comes to scams
The ATM (Automated Teller Machine) was introduced in Malaysia during 1981, and sets the motion for electronic banking for Malaysia. It was an evolutionary step to move Malaysia forward and revolutionize the banking sector.
Utilizing online banking is an inevitable technological advancement we’d need to adapt to, but a portion of Malaysians are not convinced about its security features.
According to a report about online security, 46 percent of Malaysian consumers feel insecure about carrying out money transactions online. This includes online banking and e-wallet use. On top of that, 70 percent of Malaysians prefer sticking to the traditional way of payment. Unfortunately, their reasons weren’t stated, but to each their own.
Another study show Malaysians are in the lead for being the most vulnerable to scams with a total of 46 percent of scammed victims, compared with neighbouring countries like Thailand, India, and Singapore.
Although frequent, the average financial loss towards scams in Malaysia are less compared to other countries. The regional average amount loss for those who fell for scams is equivalent to RM 41,870.
There’s actually nothing technical when it comes to scams
Scamming does not involve hackers sitting in a group, typing away on computers. In reality, very little active hacking is carried out. But what these scammers have is a software to generate random passwords, and a whole lot of time.
Take the TAC scams for example, all they needed was a little bank account information, they could keep the program running and go to bed, waking up with access to an account. Once in, they could make transfers, and start the real art of a con; calling up victims and do their best voice acting.
Besides the software, the underlying reasons people fall for it is purely psychological.
The common theme used in the TAC scam and among many other scams is persuasion. Start off with a little rapport building and trivial questions can really give con artist a pretty good insight to what their victims are like.
Each lie spoken could be very well tailored towards their victim’s school of thought, bringing out empathy and a false sense of common interests from the victim. In the meantime, this makes the victim void of suspicion and to lower their guard, through the principle of similarity.
In return, the attraction to the con artist prompts victims to subconsciously comply with their requests. A study showing automatic responses are elicited after a friendly request is presented, then carried out as if dealing with a close friend or acquaintance.
This is generally applicable in a variety of situations. Nonetheless, this seems like an elaborate sales skill with unethical twist.
Besides, other psychological aspects like scarcity (fear of missing out), reciprocation, and conformity could easily rope victims into financial loss.
It’s always better and safer to verify and be sceptical about finances
It’s not easy to be aware of every new scam that’s being carried out. No one can be fully prepared for an impending con.
Situational awareness may be the best option against potential scams in the future. Additionally, it never hurts to question authority and procedures when in doubt.
Personal details and information should never be shared with strangers. Being skeptical when it comes to handling personal finances isn’t wrong. Bear in mind the bank wouldn’t handle any complications or transactions over the phone.
People can be deceptive, but we shouldn’t let that stop us from trusting people. If it happens, do not feel threatened. Instead, make a report and warn others of its dangers, because no one is immune of being a victim.