Got an email invitation containing an organizational logo to attend international conferences? Beware! You might fall prey to a fraudulent international conference scam alert that is doing the rounds of Mauritius.

Bank of Mauritius (BoM) has drawn the public’s attention to the circulation of an email scam on the island in a communiqué published yesterday December 16, 2014.

The central bank has warned  that fraudsters are sending unsolicited emails inviting the public to attend international conferences in order to get access to personal details and banking information.

Consequently, BoM informed the public to be conscious of fraudulent internet correspondence, also known as ‘phishing’.

Phishing is a type of fraud in which e-mail messages, instant messages and websites are used to deceive individuals into providing confidential, personal information, which can be used for credit card fraud and other serious violations of privacy.

The phishing e-mails, containing an organizational logo, ask users to either reply or link to a web page – which does not match that of the legitimate organization – to update their personal information.

To avoid being scammed or become a party to illicit transactions, the central bank advised members of the public not to reveal any personal and banking information such as details of their bank accounts, card numbers and personal identification numbers, to unknown persons.

The communiqué enumerates several steps to be taken to avoid falling victim to phishing. First of all, be vigilant to any unexpected e-mail, instant message, voicemail or fax and information received must be checked.

Secondly, check the legitimacy of the mail before replying to it in order not to be fooled by an email that looks legitimate or appears to link to a genuine website.

Thirdly, the central bank recommends you not to provide personal, card or account details upon receipt of email requesting for personal and banking information and not to reply to emails received from unknown sources as well as phone or fax instructions that prompt them to divulge their personal information.

In addition, BoM advises you to take caution when clicking on any links in a suspicious e-mail because this may cause the download of key-logging or ‘spyware’ programmes onto your computer.

Furthermore, make sure that you regularly log on to your online banking, credit card or other accounts and reconcile your statement balances to ensure that all transactions are legitimate.

Finally, ensure that you use up-to-date anti-virus software including spam filters and even anti-phishing programmes, which are available to help screen out potential phishers on websites and emails.

Image: freedigitalphotos

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