Don’t click on the link–or how to spot online scams
Online scams probably remain profitable, otherwise how do you explain that people continue to send fake messages purportedly from banks that ask for personal information?
I guess that for two or three responses to 100 e-mails randomly sent, the scam artists persist after gaining access to those who unwittingly give access to their accounts. After all, e-mail is free.
I received another one of those e-mails recently. This is how it went: “Attention: ALL BDO ATM cardholders,
“Your BDO ATM card was recently used on ATM which may be compromised with a skimming device. For security measures we will be issuing a new ATM card.
“Please click here to request new ATM card.
“Failure to confirm the request within 24 hours will result in permanent cancellation of the card.
“For concerns, please visit your branch of account, call the BDO Customer Contact Center or the BSP Financial Consumer Protection Department at (02) 708-7087.”
Of course, the scam artists are hoping the recipient will be sufficiently alarmed and immediately click on the link. Although some may choose to visit a BDO branch or call the given phone number, as long as there are unsuspecting recipients who click on the link, then the scam would be successful.
Fortunately, since I don’t have a BDO account, I knew immediately it was a hoax. But as real BDO clients could be victimized, I forwarded the e-mail to the bank.
Peter Louie G. Magdame of BDO’s TBG/PCM-Support Services replied: “Several concerned citizens and customers have already reported this e-mail and link. We were able to take down this malicious site as early as Friday last week.”
Magdame asked for help in alerting the public to scams like this to help reduce significantly the number of fraud victims, not just among BDO clients but the banking industry in general. Similar e-mails have also been sent from other “banks.”
If you receive such e-mails, don’t do as you are asked to do immediately. Check the message first for telltale signs that it is not legitimate.
The BDO e-mail came from this e-mail address: email@example.com. The last two letters, pk, should alert you that something is amiss. If it really came from BDO, those letters should be ph, the abbreviation for Philippines.
Call your bank or visit a branch and verify if the e-mail is legitimate. As always, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Credit card offers
I have also received text messages announcing a “BPI Credit Cards Promo.” It promises “FREE Annual Fee, For Life!!!” And all they need is my full name, with the promise to get in touch with me soon.
The grammar of the more recent one was at least not so bad. An earlier message from another mobile phone number said: “Just reply your FULLNAME.”
They may seem not to ask a lot, just your full name, but identity theft does not require much, too. They can make up the other details to go with your full name to apply for credit cards, loans, etc.
If you’re interested in getting a credit card from the Bank of Philippine Islands, or any bank, for that matter, just visit one of their branches or express counters in shopping malls.
Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino
Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org