Among the various types of virtual scams that currently exist, one stands out among the population for making victims from something so common to Brazilians: the fake boleto scam. Using social engineering to deceive people, the scam has been around for years and remains a source of headache for much of the population.
Furthermore, in recent months, criminals have added new functions to the operation of this scam, even establishing call centers and obtaining information from legitimate bank contracts, to increase the credibility of emails and charges.
Having said that, how to protect yourself from this scam? We will share below six tips given by Morais Advogados Associados, which aim to prevent people from falling into this fraud. Check out:
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Check the billing company
When billed by a law firm or collection company, make sure these bill collectors are authorized to negotiate your debt, with official statements from the creditor giving that permission to the person who sent the bill.
Also, be aware: no creditor, be it a bank, finance company, store, or other, grants a debt reduction of 80%, and it is this strategy that swindlers use to convince consumers to pay fake slips without proper contact.
Check ticket details
Generally, fake boletos have some characteristics that can be easily checked by the user. See if the final digits represent the value of the ticket: if they are different, it is possible that it is a scam. If it is a recurring charge, such as a vehicle financing slip (where the highest number of frauds occur), cable TV bill, children’s school slip that usually comes with a fixed amount, check with past charges and, if you find inconsistencies, suspect.
Also check that the first digits of the payment code match the code of the bank that appears as the issuer of the ticket. Also before making the payment, check if the transferor of the ticket is the institution that you really owe, otherwise ignore the charge. Bank numbers can be checked on the Febraban website.
Check the origin with the bank and finance company
If the boleto is issued by a finance company, bank or store, research the company’s reputation on Reclame Aqui to make sure it actually exists. If you are charged by a collection company, check with the creditor if they are authorized to negotiate your debt and issue slips.
In the case of online purchases, opt whenever possible for other means of payment that do not involve a bank slip. Platforms such as Market Pago, PagSeguro and other digital media offer more security when they act as intermediaries and can be activated if something goes wrong in the transaction.
Prefer automatic barcode scanning
In any ticket, always prefer to read the barcode through the cell phone camera or at the ATM, since in general, tickets with a tampered typeable line do not have a compatible barcode and need to force the victim to type the sequence manually to complete the scam .
Download the ticket from the lender’s website
Whenever possible, it is important to download boletos directly from the website of the bank or company that is charging. Always be suspicious of tickets that arrive by email, especially when the message has a subject like “Urgent” or “Your name is on Serasa”, and use electronic messaging services with good anti-spam filters to reduce the probability of receiving these messages.
Also be aware that in more sophisticated scams, a fake boleto can even be sent to the victim’s home. In this modality, the document can be identical in appearance to the original, including an envelope with a stamp and a real sender. Stay tuned.
Make sure the site is secure and avoid public Wi-Fi
When downloading the boleto from the creditor’s website, make sure that you are accessing the real page and that the address begins with HTTPS. Secure pages carry the SSL certificate seal that ensures against intrusions and guarantees greater reliability for the document being downloaded.
Also avoid connecting to public networks, which are more susceptible to router attacks capable of spoofing visited pages. In more advanced scams, the criminal can intercept access and alter a boleto apparently downloaded from the bank’s official website. Therefore, always choose to download on a secure network with a password, or through the mobile Internet.