We will never, ever ask you for a One-Time-Password!
Doing your banking has become increasingly convenient by utilising online and mobile banking services. However, this convenience also comes with a downside: the rise of sophisticated cybercrimes, such as bank impersonation scams. These scams involve fraudsters who may pretend to represent Horizon Bank or other financial institutions and trick you into sharing sensitive information, including one-time passwords (OTPs). In this blog post, we will explore the dangers of bank impersonation scams and emphasise the importance of safeguarding your OTPs.
Understanding Bank Impersonation Scams
Bank impersonation scams typically begin with fraudsters attempting to gain your trust through various means, such as phone calls, emails, or text messages. They may pose as someone calling from Horizon Bank or customer service agents, using convincing tactics to deceive you into believing their authenticity. The scammers often claim that there is a security issue with your account or a fraudulent transaction, creating a sense of urgency and panic.
What is a One-Time-Password (OTP)?
One-time passwords are temporary codes sent to your registered mobile number or email address to authenticate your identity during online transactions. They provide an additional layer of security, ensuring that only the rightful account owner can complete the transaction. They should never be shared with anyone. However, scammers have devised cunning ways to trick individuals into sharing their OTPs, compromising their bank accounts.
The Dangers of Sharing Your OTP
Sharing your OTPs with anyone, including individuals claiming to be bank representatives, can lead to severe consequences. Here are some risks associated with sharing OTPs:
Unauthorised Account Access: Scammers may be able to gain access to your online banking account by using the OTPs you provide. Once given access to your account, they can conduct unauthorised transactions, transfer funds, or even change your account details, leaving you financially devastated.
Identity Theft: OTPs are a valuable piece of information for cybercriminals seeking to commit identity theft. By obtaining your OTPs, fraudsters can use them to verify their identity and gain access to other sensitive accounts, leading to potential financial loss and reputational damage.
Malware and Phishing Attacks: Scammers often employ sophisticated techniques, such as phishing emails or text messages, to trick you into disclosing your OTPs. Clicking on malicious links or downloading attachments from these messages can infect your device with malware, allowing criminals to steal your personal information.
Protecting Yourself from Bank Impersonation Scams
To safeguard yourself from falling victim to bank impersonation scams, follow our essential tips:
Verify Caller Identity: If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a Horizon team member or representative, don't share any sensitive information. Instead, hang up and contact us directly using the numbers you can find here. This way you can verify the legitimacy of the call before proceeding.
Be Wary of Unsolicited Emails and Messages: Exercise caution when receiving emails, text messages, or social media communications requesting your OTPs. Legitimate banks and financial institutions will NEVER, EVER ask you to provide your OTPs or any other insecure communication channels.
Educate Yourself: Stay informed about the latest scams and fraud techniques. Banks often issue security advisories and updates on their websites or through mobile banking apps. Read these alerts to familiarise yourself with common fraud tactics and learn how to protect your personal information. We recommend staying updated via the Horizon Bank Facebook page and by visiting ScamWatch.