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Financial Literacy

How to protect your bank account from phishing attempts

We often hear stories of people being defrauded of thousands, or even millions of Naira. As scary as the stories sound, we oftentimes still fail to take certain precautions to ensure we don’t fall victim.

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protect your bank accounts, Urgent need to re-up cybersecurity efforts as digital payments gain popularity

We often hear stories of people being defrauded of thousands, or even millions of Naira. As scary as these stories sound, many people still fail to take certain precautionary measures to protect their bank accounts in order to ensure that they too don’t fall victim.

As we all know, internet/mobile banking has made life so much easier. You have access to your money no matter where you are. You can also perform financial transactions without stress. But with this ease comes risk. Scammers use social engineering tactics to bait people into giving up details that can be used to empty their bank accounts. This means you must learn how to protect your bank account.

READ: Leaked email reveal a bank can’t pay GDR dividend due to dollar shortages

What is Phishing?

Phishing is when you receive an SMS or email that appears to be from your bank. It could also be a phone call from someone that claims to be a representative.

Read How to invest in the Nigerian Stock Exchange(Opens in a new browser tab

They try to convince you to provide some personal information which they can then use to gain access to your money.

They won’t fail to create a sense of urgency to make you feel you need to act fast. This way, you fall prey before finding out that something is wrong.

If it’s an email message, they will provide a link or an attachment for you to click or download. The link takes you to a fake site where the hacker can harvest the details they need. The attachments contain malware that gives the hacker access to your computer or smartphone.

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READ: Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, worth $104 billion keeps $2.3 billion in cash

If you happen to receive such an email, you might be unable to tell it’s a scam since it’ll have your bank’s logo, letterhead, and other genuine information. They can even forge the original email address.

Since this trick is so convincing, how can you then tell when you are under attack?

[READ: Aliko Dangote is the only African among the world’s 100 richest people]

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How to Identify a Phishing Attempt

There are several clues that give away this scammer’s trick. You can identify them once you are cautious enough.

  1. They’ll claim that your ATM card or bank account will be blocked if you don’t take immediate action.
  2. They’ll ask you to provide some information and tell you it’s required to solve the issue or provide the service for which they contacted you.
  3. They’ll make you an enticing offer and then ask you to download an attachment or click a link in the body of the message.
  4. They may use a generic greeting such as “Dear customer” rather than use your name. (But note that if it’s a targeted attack, the email or SMS greeting will most likely have your name).
  5. The message may contain spelling errors, typos, and have unusual fonts.
  6. When you hover over the link they sent, the URL will be different from your bank’s official website.

[READ: Stakeholder explains why FG should provide tax waivers for startups]

How you can protect yourself

While there are certain actions you can take, the greater part of protecting yourself has to do with staying alert so you can identify phishing attempts.

  1. Choose an email provider that offers spam, malware, and phishing protection. This way, you will be alerted when you receive a suspicious email.
  2. Configure the spam filter of your email service to be stricter in handling spam.
  3. Set up two-factor authentication to protect your email and social media accounts.
  4. Ensure your computer or smartphone has a strong antivirus program.
  5. Set a strong password for your ATM card, social media and email accounts.
  6. Don’t download your banking app from an unofficial site.
  7. Don’t share your security details with anyone, even if the person is a staff member within the banking hall.
  8. Don’t click links or download attachments from an email or social media message, unless you are explicitly expecting the message. If you must visit the link, don’t click on it directly from the message. Copy and paste it in your browser’s address bar to make sure the URL belongs to a genuine site.

READ: How to protect your bank accounts from hackers and fraudsters

Note: Secure websites (including your bank’s website) always make use of HTTPS.

  1. Visit your bank and make inquiries about the issue or service for which you were contacted.

Scammers continuously device new ways of defrauding people. It’s up to you to stay vigilant and not fall an easy prey.

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    Financial Literacy

    Steps to take to bag international scholarships

    Here are the steps you should take if interested in pursuing international scholarships.

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    United Kingdom opens window of job opportunities for international students

    Studying abroad gives you exposure among many other things, and that is precisely why many Nigerians have been looking for ways to study abroad. However, not everybody is privileged with the resources to study overseas and this is where the international scholarship option comes in.

    If you are interested in studying abroad and don’t have enough funds, you should consider applying for international scholarships. This article lists the steps you can take to bag international scholarships but before delving into that, here are some types of scholarships available to you as an international student:

    • Location-based scholarships
    • Course or program-based scholarships
    • Sports-related scholarships
    • Research-based scholarships
    • University-funded scholarships
    • Organization-funded scholarships
    • Government-funded scholarships

    Having discovered the types of international scholarships available to you, here are the steps you should take to bag any of these international scholarships.

    Research: Research is vital if you don’t want to miss out on good opportunities or make mistakes during your application. Research scholarship opportunities available in your prospective college or location and be on the lookout for hidden scholarships.

    Check your eligibility: Having done thorough research and discovered the available scholarship opportunities, check to see if you are eligible for them. Many international scholarships have their criteria and requirement, so you should confirm that you are the right fit first.

    Get the required documents: After confirming your eligibility, you should get the necessary documents. If the scholarship requires you to write an exam, prepare for the exam, write a good statement of purpose and prepare all other documents.

    Start your admission process: Some international scholarships require that you start your admission process and probably get the admission before starting your scholarship application.

    Contact past scholarship winners: You might want to contact the previous scholarship winners to know what they did right and how you can learn from them.

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    Apply for the available scholarships: The last step is to apply to every available scholarship.

    The best way to get funds for your undergraduate, postgraduate, or PhD pursuits abroad is by applying for international scholarships. If you do thorough research, you can find fully funded scholarships that won’t require you to pay any amount. One of the essential steps to getting an international scholarship as a Nigerian is staying abreast of current information and this will require you to network with others.

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    Financial Literacy

    How to stay employable amidst massive unemployment

    Here are some ways to stay employable amidst massive unemployment.

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    With the advancement in technology and change in traditional job roles, the workspace is constantly changing. The recent Covid-19 crisis and its consequent economic downturn have rendered many people who were employed jobless, thereby increasing the rate of unemployment. Surviving in an ever-evolving and uncertain labour market, therefore, becomes a great deal of work which requires improved thinking pattern, continued professional development, life-long learning, and the ability to adapt.

    Here are some ways to stay employable amidst massive unemployment:

    1. Build your expertise

    Companies and organizations are looking for individuals with ideas and knowledge that will shape the company’s growth. Learning more about your field will give you an edge over others. It will also enable you to discover new tools and strategies to adopt, that will keep you marketable and make you an attractive hire.

    2. Be receptive to change and emerging innovations

    Life-long learning is a habit that has to be encouraged if anyone hopes to stay employable. To remain relevant in the workforce, you need to build your competence beyond past qualifications and ideas. Receptiveness to change and emerging innovations will keep you abreast with what is in your career field.

    3. Enhance your job-related skills

    Landing a job is challenging. It is even more difficult during an economic downturn when companies are laying off workers. One of the strategies to stay marketable is to find ways to improve your job skills. Individuals can learn skills that align with current employability needs by taking up training and courses relevant to their career scope.

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    4. Be Savvy on Social Media Platforms

    The recruitment sector is gradually gaining a presence on social media. Many recruitment agencies take to social media to look for and assess prospective candidates for some job opportunities. Building a strong social media profile and network will help to build relationships with peers and potential employers. This network will increase your chances of landing a job. Building a network in career fields of interest will keep you abreast of information and opportunities in your career path.

    5. Refine your soft skills

    As traditional work environments are replaced gradually by remote or virtual workspaces, companies are looking for individuals with soft skills like leadership, managerial competence, creativity, time management, good communication skills, etc. Individuals looking to stay employable have to develop soft skills that will help them remain economically viable. Many organizations do not just want to hire skilled people but also self-regulated and innovative individuals able to carry out tasks independently.

    6. Be Confident 

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    Self-confidence will make you more assertive about your skills, knowledge, and abilities. Confident individuals can communicate their ideas more eloquently and convincingly. This personality will make them stand out and portray them as relevant hands needed in any organization.

    Staying employable in today’s ever-changing and competitive work environment is a process of evaluation, learning, and adaptation.

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