Apr 13, 2007

SMS Scams. Another dimension?

I received an email from a friend some hours ago warning people about some scam SMS messages. It had been forwarded by Interswitch - an electronic transaction switching and payment processing company and the popular provider of ATM cards in Nigeria. Apparently, some fraudsters had been sending some scam SMS messages regarding an upgrade of the Interswitch Network. The contents of the SMS are below -
InterSwitch is upgrading their service, Please go & register UR ATM Cards NOW on www.interswitchnig. com
Only registered ATM cards will work on the ATM Machines
While this looks very genuine and unsuspicious, a scrutiny of the website address will show that it's not Interswitch's website. The real website is www.interswitchng.com (ends with "ng" and not "nig"). Upon visiting the site, unsuspecting victims are asked for their ATM debit card number and pin code. Of course, these details make their way into the fraudster's hands ... after which they can do anything with your card.

This form of scam is known as phishing and has been around for a long time. To think that this it has now made its way into Nigeria is very disheartening. The fraudsters actually registered a very similar domain name and started sending random SMS messages, and unfortunately (as always) some innocent card holders have likely fallen victim.

If you have fallen victim and have already provided your details to the fraudulent website (or to any site at all in response to an SMS), you are advised to change your pin code immediately. The safest way would be to proceed to the nearest ATM machine immediately and change your PIN code from there. You can also do it from the real Interswitch website http://www.interswitchng.com. As a precaution, never respond to such SMS messages without confirming from your bank (which issued you the card) ... and just so you're aware, Interswith will not send you direct SMS to your phone. Their agreement is with your bank and not with you, so all dealings will go through your bank.

This also brings me to another set of scam SMS messages being sent randomly. They are usually in the format below
Congratulations, you are the winner of the Chevron/Shell/MTN/Globacom (etc) promo. You have won N1m/Plasma TV/DVD recorder (etc). Please call 080********. Your control code is #839289 ... etc.
If you call the indicated numbers, the fraudsters try their best to convince you about their genuinity. In the end, you'll be asked to buy recharge cards of a certain amount and text them the recharge PIN. Do this, and you'll never hear from them again. These SMS messages look very genuine, but don't be deceived. If you didn't partake in any promo, you're not going to get any promo congratulatory message. In addition, such companies will never send you SMS messages notifying you of a winning. Rather, they'll call you. Also never send a recharge pin code to someone you don't know. Real companies will not ask you to do this for any reason at all.

Stay informed, stay protected. Don't get scammed!


linda ikeji said...

not only do i get scam emails all the time, i also get scam txt messages.infact i belived one scam message saying id won 545 thounsand naira and called the no i was asked to call.only to be told to send in details of my acct no,so they could transfer the money to my acct.i called mtn to confirm and they told me there was no such promo going on.the state of minds of some naija pple are terrible.all they think about is how to dupe pple of their hard earned money.may God help us all

wienna said...

Hmmm...with d way technology is advancing these days, especially in naija, more people there will likely be proned once again. Be careful ma people. It's easy to be enticed by d money and get sucked in. Always listen to dat 'inner voice'.

akin aworan said...

This scamming malarky is really ticking me off these days!!

chidi said...

all this 419 people, dnt they get tired or is hunger disturbing them so much? why can't they find a decent job like everybody else? They are the ones givng nigerians bad names abroad. I never knew that one could recieve a scam txt. I thot their speciality was the e-mailing thing.

Tayo said...

Thanks Guys for all your comments. These scammers are getting more and more desperate by the day. I really hope their activities will be checked very soon. I just called and yabbed some guy who sent me a text saying I had won N150000 in LaCasera promo (I've not taken the drink in ages!). Unfortunately, some people still fall for the scams. God help us all.

femi Aluko said...

I hope someone will whisper to Lacasera about this guys using their business name to defraud innocent nigerian.
Someone close to me got the message that he won N200,000 and on calling the guys, we were told to send Glo cards to the tune of N4000 for what the dubious guys call "procesing fees". We were not caught by their trap.