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BSP warns of scams

Date: Monday August 15th, 2016

Bank South Pacific (BSP) is warning the general public and customers to beware of scams via text messages, emails, phone calls and letters.

In recent months hoax text messaging has increased due to the wide availability of mobile phones. Scammers also have been calling customers claiming, they are from BSP and advising them they have won a cash prize.  Furthermore, there are fraudsters who claim to represent BSP and facilitate loan processing with a commission charged for their services.

BSP Group General Manager - Retail Banking, Paul Thornton warned that the bank currently has no cash prize promotion giveaway, nor does it engage 3rd parties to sell its loan products.  All customers should only apply directly with branch staff for loan enquiries.

"Furthermore, customers who are asked for any commission for loan approval are encouraged to report the matter to BSP. Customers should not entertain any text messages or calls from fraudsters who request for personal information. Do not divulge Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), or passwords to anyone."

Already many unsuspecting and gullible people have fallen victims to hoax emails and scam text messages from fraudsters who claim to be representing a bank or a reputable organisation.

He further adds, "BSP, like any other ­financial institutions ensure that client and customer information is treated and shared via proper processes and protocols. The bank has a stringent policy of nondisclosure regarding matters of information security and deals with customers accordingly. BSP will never request for personal information, Passwords or PINs from our customers."

Phishing (hoax emails) have also increased in recent times due to the availability and access to modern means of communication such as the internet and emails. Whilst these means of communication make life easier for the user by a simple click of the button, they also provide opportunities for criminals and con artists who attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and PIN numbers by pretending to be a trustworthy entity.

Perpetrators send out legitimate-looking emails in an attempt to gather personal and financial information from recipients. This is normally carried out by e-mail spoofing or instant messaging and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website that look and feel almost identical to the real website. Typically, the messages appear to come from well-known and trustworthy email addresses.

Organisations around the world, both financial and non-financial alike, have reported hoax emails that misrepresent their organisation have been sent to customers and many have fallen victim to clicking on the link or file attachment then unwittingly disclosing confidential details.

Hoax emails usually ask you to update, validate, or confi­rm personal information, often with a false sense of urgency such as: "We are updating our accounts and need information fast." "An unauthorised transaction has recently occurred on your account." "You may lose your account if you don't update your information." "Please click here to verify your information."

Mr Thornton said, "As a general rule of thumb always, read carefully emails before engaging. If you suspect that the email sent is suspicious and may be a hoax, always contact the company being impersonated directly and immediately. You should not reply, nor submit personal information and do not click on any links contained in the email."

"Protecting personal and sensitive information such as bank account details, bank card PIN numbers and Internet Banking passwords is important, as disclosing it to someone else will result in you losing your money in your bank account or other important information," 

BSP Client Service Centre can provide assistance to customers with any questions relating to hoax emails or if you are unsure of what to do. Contact BSP on 320 1212/70301212 or email: hoax@bsp.com.pg for verification.