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Alert: Rise in Financial Fraud Cases Prompts Public Warning in Sri Lanka

We have been alerted to a surge in financial fraud incidents, both globally and in Sri Lanka. These scams often masquerade as enticing online offers, tricking mobile device users into unwittingly clicking on unknown links and downloading malicious apps and files. This grants scammers full control over the mobile device, allowing them remote access. Once in control, fraudsters exploit bank/payment apps installed on the device, leading to theft from bank accounts and payment cards.

We urge the public to exercise heightened vigilance to thwart such scams. Fraudsters utilize social media platforms, websites, and online messaging services to perpetrate these fraudulent activities. It’s crucial to understand that these reported fraud cases stem from fraudsters seizing control of mobile devices, not from any security vulnerabilities in banking/payment apps, which adhere to international security standards.

To safeguard against falling victim to these scams, we recommend the following precautions:

  • Be wary of online ads promising unrealistic deals.
  • Refrain from clicking on links or downloading apps/files from unknown sources.
  • Exit unfamiliar groups on social media or messaging platforms where you’re added without consent.
  • Avoid clicking on links shared via such groups.
  • Do not save passwords on your device.
  • Download apps exclusively from official app stores like the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, etc.
  • Utilize biometric authentication (e.g., fingerprint, facial recognition) for accessing bank/payment apps whenever possible.
  • Regularly review app permissions and revoke any excessive permissions granted to installed apps.
  • Install a reputable antivirus app from official app stores and keep it updated to detect and remove viruses and malware.
  • Exercise caution with messages prompting disclosure of personal or financial information through links.
  • Immediately disable mobile data/WiFi or switch to airplane mode upon noticing unusual device behavior.
  • Stay attentive to security warnings issued by FinCSIRT, banks, and financial institutions, and adhere to their recommended precautions.

Stay vigilant. Don’t become a victim of financial scams.

Joint Statement by Sri Lanka Banks’ Association, LankaPay, and FinCSIRT.

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