QCOSTARICA – A large number of clients of the Banco Nacional (BNCR) have reported being victims of fraud, while the state bank holds them responsible.
And it is now making it harder for clients to transfer money.
On Wednesday, the state bank issued a statement where it rather blames customers who report having been victims of irregular transactions on their account, that is transactions that were never made by the client, either through Sinpe Movil or a debit card.
The bank reported that each time a user wishes to make a payment through Sinpe Movil, a code will be sent to their email or by text message, and they must enter it to make the transfer effective.
The bank recognized “an increase and sophistication of methods used by criminals to obtain confidential information, such as passwords” and urged users to “be alert”, and assured that the bank will continue “doubling efforts to guarantee the security, data protection and safeguarding of the trust of all our clients”.
Regarding the new verification code that they will ask for, the Banco Nacional argued that “even when some clients find it a step further and this causes them discomfort, the measure is taken for the protection of all. We emphasize that this additional code should not be shared with anyone, neither by phone, nor by text message, nor by a link that takes them to a false page, nor by Internet search engines”.
— Banco Nacional (@banconacionalcr) March 31, 2022
In addition, they assured that “the Banco Nacional clearly and emphatically reiterates that its systems have not been violated and these events, unfortunately, would not be taking place if the scammed clients had not handed over their passwords”. They also declared that “this has happened in all the cases we have reviewed.”
That is to say, the bank is of the opinion that all the cases are due, supposedly, to the fact that the clients somehow provided their security codes to third parties, which facilitated access to their account.
Slew of complaints
As for the victims who made their experience known publicly, expressed their annoyance at the BNCR’s position in dealing with their cases, due to the “little interest” that the bank had shown at the time dealing with cases.
The complaints range from thirty, forty or fifty thousand to hundreds of thousands and even millions of colones somehow transferred from their account, mostly through Sinpe movil transactions, while others noticed debit or credit card charges that were never authorized.
Most of the unauthorized transactions reported occurred between March 9 and 25.
Two BN customers who spoke to QCR confidentially stated that several debit card transactions, all on the same day and for low amounts, on a card associated with the account that they never or seldom use.
On filing a complaint, the bank responded with an investigation that could take up to 180 days.
Advice from the Banco Nacional
The BN listed some tips or suggestions that their customers should follow to avoid being victims of scams or data theft:
- The BN urges customers not to use Internet search engines to access online banking site, because that way they can be taken to “clones” that obtain their passwords and with which the fraudsters materialize a scam in their name.
- The bank requests and advises its clients not to access links that reach them by email or by any messaging system such as SMS or WhatsApp.
- The BN reminds all its clients of the responsibility they have in safeguarding their passwords, tokens, pins and security codes and not giving them to anyone, for any reason.
- The emails with receipts or digital vouchers are to inform you of the details of the transaction made, they will never contain links. Otherwise, suspect that it is a scam.
- Some clients have accessed false pages that are graphically identical to the BN page and therefore believe that they are not giving their password to the fraudsters, but in reality, they are, even if they do not have Sinpe Móvil.
- BN has also detected that fraudsters send notices with the subject “Mandatory update in BN Móvil and BN Internet Banking” with confirmation links. These messages are attempted scams, because the Bank never sends account confirmation requests.
The complete statement of the National Bank can be found at the following link: bnmascerca.com/blog/posicion-oficial-del-banco-nacional-sobre-el-tema-de-las-estafas/