The number of attempts to extort money from unsuspecting individuals is increasing in Switzerland, and the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), as well as other authorities, are advising the public to be on the lookout for any scheme that asks for a bank account or credit card. numbers.
Here are some of the more common scams that should sound the alarm:
Geneva officials have alerted taxpayers not be a victim of phone scams where callers identify themselves as employees of the cantonal tax office. The person is told that they owe money for unpaid taxes and the callers require the bank account number to withdraw the amount due.
In case the taxpayer refuses, the bogus employees threaten the victim with a fine of 200,000 francs. If the person is elderly, often the most vulnerable victim, scammers lobby by saying that their social security payments will be suspended until payment is made.
Geneva authorities urge the public to inform the police if they receive such a phone call.
Package delivery against payment
You may receive an email, purportedly from known package delivery services, notifying you that a package addressed to you will be delivered once payment is made.
The package notification email contains a link to a page requesting credit card details or to activate a service on the mobile phone by sending a text message.
A caller posing as an employee of Microsoft or another IT company tells you that his computer is infected with a virus and that he must install new software.
The goal of these cyber attackers is to trick you into downloading a program that will give them access to your computer.
In most cases, callers will also try to sell you a software license or other service by asking for your credit card information.
Contests and prizes
You may receive emails, allegedly from well-known Swiss retailers, promising vouchers for expensive prizes. But to receive them, personal data such as credit card details, name, email address and mobile phone number must be entered on a fake website.
The fee is immediately charged to your credit card, and without your knowing it, you are signing up for an expensive long-term subscription to a product or service that you may or may not get.
The list of all current scams in Switzerland is here.
If you receive any of the above or similar messages by mail, email, or phone, NCSC recommends:
- Ignore these messages by hanging up the phone and / or deleting emails, moving them to the Spam folder
- Never give your credit card number or bank account information to people you don’t know.
- If you provided your card number, contact your credit card company immediately to have the card blocked. Also, if you provided your bank details, please contact your bank.
- In the event of financial loss, the NCSC recommends filing a criminal complaint with the cantonal prosecutor’s offices. You can find the police stations in your area and their phone numbers on the Police website.
A good rule of thumb to remember is that if an offer or deal sounds too good to be true, or if there are threats and pressure involved, it is most likely a scam.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism