Criminals laugh their way to the bank during the Christmas and New Year period. Stay vigilant against fraud!


Roel Vermeire

Content & PR manager Keytrade Bank

No one can escape – just like everyone else, your inbox, phone and social media accounts are popular targets for criminals. Fake emails, texts, direct messages and other forms of cybercrime are on the rise all year round. This is perhaps even more so in the winter, when we order things online for Christmas, New Year's Eve celebrations or Saint Nicholas Day. If we were to offer just one piece of advice, it would be to remain vigilant – and invest in a good anti-virus scanner!

Don't give phishing a chance

Fraudsters use a method called phishing to steal your bank details or personal bank codes. They do this by sending you an email, text, WhatsApp message, social media message and more containing a link to a counterfeit website (which often looks like the real thing). If, for example, you're waiting for a parcel, be sure to check its status on the merchant's website and not through your email. Crucially, you should always remain critical and not believe everything you read. You shouldn't just click on any old link. Instead, you should open our transaction site or app yourself. Never share your codes either.

Always check someone's identity, even if they are 'known' to you

Cybercriminals use tricks to adopt another identity in a method called spoofing. As an example, fraudsters may pretend to be from your bank, a trusted government body, a family member or someone else known to you. We're not saying you should be suspicious of every call from your brother or sister, of course,

but if the person known to you tries to acquire your personal details and/or secret bank codes, or tries to get you to withdraw money immediately, it should set your alarm bells ringing.

Call the person back on a number you already have for them. If they give you excuses as to why they can't talk at that time, you should be even more suspicious. The same applies to new phone numbers as well. Make sure you never rush into something and be sure to check the person known to you is indeed who they say they are. And, finally, never share your secret bank codes.

Google isn't always your friend

If you're looking for a customer service department and using a search engine (such as Google, Bing or Ecosia), remember that the search results can sometimes lead you to a fake website. In that case, you won't get a company employee on the other end of the line, but a fraudster instead. You should remain vigilant here, too. You're better off calling a number you already have.

The Centre for Cybersecurity Belgium (the national authority for cybersecurity in Belgium) has joined forces with the banks to make sure search engines have to remove such fraudulent websites from their search results. It's worth repeating, however, that your ability to respond to this type of fraud – swiftly – is important.

Tip: Enter our website address into your search bar and add it to your favourites.

Money can force people into becoming mules

Heard of money mules? These are people who channel illegal money (or let it flow) through their account. The victims of such practices are often people who run into financial difficulties and want to obtain money easily. Young people are the ideal target group – this is according to a study by Febelfin and the research firm Indiville. You should remember that sharing your account number isn't as harmless as it may seem at first glance, either. It is a criminal offence and your account may be emptied. In addition, the practice also involves criminals, so there is a greater risk of physical threats and victims filing claims for compensation. In other words: Don't become a mule. Money can make you happy, but only if it is handled responsibly.

What to do if you've still fallen victim to fraud

  • Contact our bank through the approved channels. Check the Fraud section on our website.
  • Notify Card Stop ( or by calling +32 (0)78 170 170) if you also shared your card details.
  • Change your codes.
  • File a complaint with the police.

This article does not contain any investment advice or recommendation, nor a financial analysis. Nothing in this article may be construed as information with a contractual value of any sort whatsoever. This article is intended for information only and does not constitute in any way a commercialization of financial products. Keytrade Bank cannot be held liable for any decision made based on the information contained in this article, nor for its use by third parties. Every investment entails risks such as a possible loss of capital. Before investing in financial instruments, please inform yourself properly and read carefully the document "Overview of the principal characteristics and risks of financial instruments" that you can find in the Document centre.

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