How to protect yourself from fraud, and what to do if you’ve been exposed
While the internet and mobile phones have made it easier to bring people together and make the world more accessible, technical devices have also made it easier for scammers to commit fraud. From fraudulent calls to password phishing, scammers constantly find new ways to get their hands on other peoples’ money. But you can protect yourself and family by arming yourself with knowledge of the most common types of fraud.
What you can do to avoid fraud:
Never give away codes at the request of someone who has contacted you (unless you have called SEB first and asked us to call back or if you have booked a meeting with us).
End the call and call us back. Dial the number manually instead of using your phone's call-back function. Our phone number for Swedish customers is +46 (0)771-365 365. If you're a customer with SEB outside of Sweden, use your local contact information or get in touch with your usual contact person at SEB.
Always report a fraud attempt to the police – this way the police will have more information to work with.
Understanding how fraudsters work
There are many types of fraud attempts, and if you are aware of them, it is easier to pay attention and avoid being scammed.
Fraudulent calls and texts
Fraudsters often call or text people, impersonating SEB, the Tax Agency, the Pensions Agency, Microsoft or another well-known and credible party. They often do so late in the evening or in the middle of the night. The fraudsters almost always make the situation seem urgent and important.
The fraudsters, for example, claim:
- that they will help you with corona-related services, such as vaccination
- that they will stop an alleged fraud on your account or card
- that they can withdraw money that you have been scammed out of
- that they can help with the tax refund
- that you have won money
- that a loved one is in trouble and needs your help
- that they can help you with housing supplements or higher guarantee pensions
- that your computer has a virus or other problems that they can help you with
- that you should download a software
The best advice is to end the call or text conversation and never give them any information whatsoever. Note: if we at the bank have in fact detected problems with your card or account and get in touch with you, we can see it without you having to log in.
On the internet, on social media or by phone, you can get offers to invest in "amazingly lucrative" schemes, by very insistent vendors. In recent years, it is often bitcoin investments marketed with the help of celebrities who have never been consulted and in fact completely disassociate themselves from the arrangement. Often it is very urgent before the "offer ends".
The best tip is: if an offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Serious companies that comply with the law are not allowed to advertise financial investments with overpraise and should always disclose the risks of investments. Scammers rarely do, which is another reason to hang up the phone or report the internet ad. Moreover, people who have been deceived by these fraudsters sometimes get calls from someone who claims to cooperate with Interpol and offers to track down the fraudsters, but is actually the same fraudster who wants to attract additional sums.
The arrangements on offer are completely made up and therefore incomprehensible. A good piece of advice is always to refrain from investing if you don't understand what it's all about. And a good tip is to check that the company has permission for its operations and is not on the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority's warning list.
Internet security on your computer
Make sure communication is secure
Before you provide personal data or other important information online, you must make sure that it is a secure, encrypted connection between the browser and the server on which the website is hosted.
How do I know if the connection is secure?
- It’s secure if there is a padlock (or lock) icon in the lower right corner of your computer screen or the URL starts with "https".
- A locked padlock indicates that the current website has an encrypted connection.
- It may also be advisable to click on the padlock to check the authenticity of the certificate before logging in.
- If padlocks are missing or open, encryption is missing.
Viruses and Trojans
With the help of malicious software often referred to as viruses or Trojans, scammers take control of your computer or have full visibility into what you are doing on it. In this way, they collect information that they use for illegal purposes. They can also direct you to fake pages even if you have entered a correct URL (so-called pharming). Therefore, avoid clicking on links you are not sure about and make sure to update all your software and especially firewalls and virus protection continuously to make these kinds of attacks more difficult.
Use virus protection software
If your computer is "infected" with computer viruses, you are not only at risk of losing important information or unauthorised access to it. The virus can also entail significant costs in restoring computer equipment to working condition.
To reduce the risks of this, you should make sure that your computer has virus protection. This is usually included in the standard software on modern computers. We recommend that you check that you have antivirus software, that it is enabled and that it is continuously updated.
When using public computers
We recommend not to use public computers for any personal matters like banking. If you have to use a public computer, for example in a library or internet café, you must take extra care as you don't know what's installed on the computer. For example, you don't know if the computer you're using has a working and up-to-date anti-virus program or if someone is monitoring and recording all activities on the computer.
- Only log on to our banking services if the browser shows an encrypted connection (padlock symbol in the browser or address starts on https://).
- Do not provide personal, credit, debit card or account numbers on a website that is not secure.
- Don't forget to sign out — both from the websites and the computer you've used.
Be careful with unknown links and attachments
- Think before you open links that are unknown to you.
- Be careful with attachments in emails and always virus-check them.
Install a firewall
Firewalls are security systems designed to prevent unauthorised access to information. Installing a firewall reduces the risk of unauthorised intrusion.
If you use a fixed internet connection, you may be exposed to unauthorised intrusion if your computer is in contact with the internet, normally as long as your computer is turned on.
- Make sure you have a working and updated firewall on your computer. Firewalls are security systems designed to prevent unauthorised access to information and reduce the risk of unauthorised intrusion. A firewall and anti virus software are basic security functions that are usually included in modern computer operating systems.
- Update your computer, tablet and/or mobile phone’s operating system and browser frequently.
- Make sure to have a backup copy of any valuable information you have, preferably on a physical device like a removable hard drive that you keep disconnected from your computer.
- Avoid downloading images, movies, games, programs, apps, and more from unknown websites.
- Remember that we and other banks never ask you to update your codes, passwords, card numbers or similar customer information on the internet or by email.
- Pay extra attention to whether websites you visit suddenly look different, or if you are asked to disclose sensitive information.
- Always protect your computer, phone, or tablet with a password or security code.
- Always lock your devices when you leave them unattended.
- If you need help, contact the company you purchased your computer from.
Cards, codes and cheques
Skimming – or card hijacking – means that scammers copy information found on the magnetic strip on debit, credit or bank cards. Using that information, they create a new card that they then use to pay in your name. The code is captured through hidden cameras near the payment terminal or ATM.
Skimming can take place wherever you use cards and anywhere it is possible to read the magnetic strip on the card. Therefore, it is important that you hide your code by covering the keyboard with your hand. Where only the chip is used - that is when half the card is entered into a payment terminal - skimming cannot be carried out since it is not possible to read the magnetic strip. Most terminals in Europe are currently chip-based, and the rest of the world is about to switch to similar terminals.
Theft of cards and code
A fraudster can monitor you when you use an ATM to access your four-digit code and then steal your card. To hide the code, always cover the keyboard with your hand.
When you sell things online and the buyer does not live in Sweden, the payment can be made by cheque. Unfortunately, cheque forgeries are not uncommon. Therefore, avoid this payment method if you do not already know the buyer.
Being used as a gatekeeper
The number of young people being used as money gatekeepers is increasing. Criminals use young people who are tempted or forced to move, withdraw or transfer money through their bank accounts.
A simple service like transferring money is done in no time and results in fast, easy-to-earn money. But acting as a gatekeeper is a criminal act and can have disastrous consequences.
How to protect yourself from being used as a gatekeeper:
- Do not allow anyone to use your bank account to deposit, transfer or withdraw money. Think about whose money it is and what it will be used for.
- Be suspicious of "job offers" with a promise of fast money and big profits without any need of previous experience.
- Do not give out your social security numbers or bank details.