We have seen a significant spike in cybercrime activities ever since the COVID-19 pandemic forced countries across the globe to impose national lockdowns, resulting in more people working or studying from home.

Cybercrime tactics have taken all shapes and sizes of late, and one of our journalists was sent an SMS claiming to be from cryptocurrency exchange Luno.

Our suspicions were immediately piqued as said journalist did not have a Luno account.

Naturally we reached out to the firm about the SMS, wanting to make them aware of the situation, as well as trying to establish whether there has been a significant rise in these kinds of scam SMSes recently.

While Luno did not note that there was increase, scams of this nature are nothing new for the crypto exchange.

“There are similar new SMS phishing scams popping up all the time,” according to the firm’s GM for Africa, Marius Reitz.

He also urged users of the platform who receive similar scams to report them to Luno immediately.

“Users can email [email protected] to report scams to Luno and our team then gets the fake websites taken down,” he explains.

Although cryptocurrencies do not exist in the same sort of realm as traditional banking, the industry is still susceptible to cyberattacks, and its users are also prime targets for hackers wanting access to sensitive information.

“Unfortunately, just as in the traditional banking world, criminals scam people out of their hard-earned money by using a combination of techniques,” says Reitz.

“These include SMS scams asking customers to verify their credentials within a certain timeframe, or phishing emails in which they pretend to work for a crypto company requesting a customer to click on a link to complete a transaction or verify information, for example. In your case, the message immediately raised alarm bells as you don’t have a Luno account,” he continues.

Along with its dedicated address for reporting cybercrime, Luno has a few other tools available to its users.

“On our website and mobile app we have a learning portal, help centre, blogs and vlogs. We carry out consumer outreach campaigns on social and traditional media and these also cover topics like how to avoid phishing scams and tips to keep your cryptocurrency safe,” concludes Reitz.

As always, we urge our readers to scrutinise any kind of messages they receive, and if any sort of red flag appears, to act cautiously. With lockdowns leading to an increase in cybercrimes, and higher degree of vigilance is no doubt required.