The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has received information regarding several types of financial frauds and scams being operated through social media and internet-based applications. Recently, an increase of these types of scams has been observed.

Most of these scams are conducted through easy loan schemes that attract the public. During such fraudulent loan approval processes, the scammers lure the public to share confidential customer information such as their bank account numbers and the customer’s personal identification numbers.

The scammers then use such confidential information to access customer accounts and steal customers’ money, the Central Bank said.

Sri Lanka Police recently cracked down on an online scam operated by Nigerian and Chinese nationals.

The Police have received 101 complaints with regard to the scam through which nearly Rs. 68 million is suspected to have been defrauded from Sri Lankans.

Under the scam, Sri Lankans are contacted via email or social media informing them of gifts or lotteries won overseas and are requested to make an advance payment for customs clearance or as delivery charges.

The Police said the public is usually lured under the guise of winning a lottery or visa to the US or Canada.

Individuals are befriended by the suspects on Facebook and are requested to provide details of their bank accounts and credit cards, they explained.

Four Nigerians and a group of Chinese nationals have already been arrested in Sri Lanka over the online scam, while investigations have identified another group also involved in the scam.

The Police have requested the public to remain vigilant of such scams and to refrain from providing personal details to strangers.

The public is reminded to obtain real-time notification services, such as SMS alerts from their banks or non-bank financial institutions such as finance companies, so that they would become aware of any fraudulent activity that takes place using their accounts, instantly.

The Central Bank strongly advises the public to be vigilant about these frauds and scams and not to share any confidential information, especially account usernames, passwords, PINs, OTPs or other information required for account verification, with anyone.

Such information must be used only by the customer who owns the account. Customers must also carefully read the terms and conditions of any financial product or service, before accepting them.