- Photo for illustration purposes only -

Published on Thursday, October 7, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Banco Nacional warned about a new type of scam. The state's public bank said people are posing as representatives from their bank and visiting the homes or offices of the bank's clients. They request people's credit or debit cards among other documents. They then withdraw everything from the victim's bank account.

Bank authorities are reminding their clients that their representatives never make calls to people requesting sensitive information such as card numbers, account numbers or passwords. In addition, none of their agents make house visits to request cards or bank account passwords.

According to the bank, the only home service they provide is when a new card is delivered to a customer, but that happens only after the customer completes the full process to obtain the card. Their officer never calls their clients to ask to collect active cards and other documents.

"We are seeing another kind of scam, where the contact to the client is done in person, not only with calls," said David Hernández, Director of Security and Investigations of the Banco Nacional.

The bank investigation realized the scam begins when the customer receives a call from an alleged bank executive. The scammer alleges that unauthorized transactions have been detected in the victim's bank account. Due to this suspicion, the scammer informs them that a change of card and security codes must be made.

During that call, the scammers try to access the victim's bank account using random passwords. When that happens, the bank's security system detects the unusual intent to access the bank account and proceeds to block the customer's access to their accounts.

When the access to the bank account is blocked, the scammer tells the victim that a new card will be delivered with new access codes. The new card will be home-delivered in exchange for submitting the "blocked" card and the passwords used in that account.

When the client sees that the account is blocked, he trusts the scammers and agrees to submit the cards and access codes to the bank account.

Then, another member of the gang arrives at the victim's home or office to collect the "blocked" card and the rest of the information.

Once provided with the original card and passwords, they manage to steal the victims' funds from their bank accounts.

"Do not fall into these tricks, if you get a call (of somebody pretending to be a bank representative and requesting bank accounts sensitive information) hang up immediately and call the bank to seek advice," Hernández said.

Specialists from the Ministry of Technology want people to be protected. They provided the following recommendations:

• Stay alert. If you receive emails or text messages from unknown senders, do not open them. Ignore them.

• Never click on links shared in WhatsApp to access bank web pages.

• Never answer calls of unknown numbers or anonymous people asking for sensitive bank account information.

• In case of receiving messages from your bank, before responding verify with their corresponding customer support department.

• When in doubt, contact the bank or financial institution directly at the official phone numbers provided.

• Verify on the official site of your bank for listed phone numbers.

• Never reply to anonymous emails or text messages from unknown contacts.

• Never provide by phone or text message your bank account information.

If you have doubts about a received email or text message ask the experts at the National Computer Incident Response Center by emailing cybersecurity@micitt.go.cr.

Authorities ask for people to report any suspicion of receiving fake emails or being a victim of a scam to the Judicial Investigation Organization confidential line 800-8000-645.

The warning follows another alert made by authorities in regards to bank scams.

Recently, the Fraud and Cybercrime Prosecutor's Office reported another type of scam that seeks to rob clients of the private bank BAC San José.

What other advice would you give people to avoid email scams? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com

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