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Sri Lanka Banks, Lanka Pay warn public on escalating online scams

By: Staff Writer

May 06, Colombo (LNW): Online financial scams have been increasing in Sri Lanka with fraudsters using increasingly sophisticated tactics to exploit unsuspecting individuals and businesses.

It can be defined as a fraudulent activity conducted through Internet connected devices or digital platforms with the intent to deceive and financially exploit individuals or organisations.

Therefore Sri Lankans have been warned of this new menace from phishing electronic mails and text messages to fraudulent websites that mimic legitimate platforms including those of government institutions aiming  to steal sensitive financial information or money.

As technology advances, scammers find new ways to deceive people, making it vital for everyone to be aware of common warning signs and learn how to protect themselves

The Sri Lanka Banks’ Association, LankaPay and FinCSIRT issued a joint statement on Sunday (5) warning the general public over the rise in online scams.

“We have been alerted regarding several incidents of financial fraud, both globally and in Sri Lanka, disguised as attractive online offers, leading to mobile device users inadvertently clicking on unknown links and downloading malicious apps and files,” said the statement.

This action grants scammers complete access to the mobile device, enabling them to control it remotely.

Once the fraudsters take control of the mobile device, they have easy access to bank/payment apps that are installed on that device, leading to theft from bank accounts and payment cards accessed via the mobile device.

“We wish to advise the general public to be more vigilant in order to avoid falling prey to such scams. These fraudsters use social media platforms, websites and online messaging platforms to carry out such fraudulent activities.

It is important to note that these reported fraud cases are due to fraudsters gaining control of your mobile device and not due to any security vulnerability of banking/payment apps, which are adhering to international security standards,” they added.

To prevent falling victim to such scams, Sri Lanka Banks’ Association, LankaPay and FinCSIRT, advise the public to exercise caution and follow guidelines to protect themselves from these fraudsters.

People have been asked to beware of online advertisements offering unrealistic deals and avoid clicking on links and downloading apps or files from unknown sources.

They should exit from unknown and unfamiliar groups on social media platforms or online messaging platforms to which your are added without consent and avoid clicking on links shared via such groups.

The most importantly people should  refrain from saving passwords on your device or download apps only from official app stores like the Apple App Store, Google Play Store etc and use biometric authentication (e.g., fingerprint, facial recognition) to access bank/payment apps where available as well as regularly review app permissions and remove any excessive permissions granted to installed apps.

It is essential to  Install a reputable antivirus app from official app stores and keep it updated to detect and remove viruses and malware and be cautious of messages prompting you to disclose personal or financial information by clicking on links.

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