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Bank scammers: what you’ve told us!

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Earlier this year, we shared one of our articles on Facebook. The post was called Has your bank warned you that you are being scammed? Watch out!' And the responses we've received confirms just how much of a problem this type of cybercrime is.

Has your bank warned you that you are being scammed? Watch out!

In our post, we said that there has been a rise in shrewd and dangerous bank scams. A few years ago, it was easy to spot criminals; often because of the clumsy way they tried to get people to hand over their bank details. But this is no longer the case. Today's scammers are smarter than ever, so people need to be extra vigilant.

We shared one example where people get a call from "their bank", warning them that they are in the process of being scammed. But, in a panic to make sure they don't become a victim, these individuals often give criminals access to the very data they need. We also revealed how one of our team helped to stop a financial scam when it became clear that cybercriminals were targeting her friend on Facebook. Find out more about the Google Pay Scam.

What did you tell us?

While we hope that our post will help people to challenge and stop bank scams, some of the things you told us are just as enlightening.

Banks still don't understand the need for security checks

Some people told us how, even today, some banks still don't understand the need for basic security checks:

"I remember years ago getting a (probably genuine) phone call from my bank. They were totally flummoxed when I asked them to prove who they were before I answered any security questions to prove who I was!

Another said:

"Went into the branch and they verified it was a genuine marketing call and couldn't understand my refusal to talk to an unidentifiable cold caller."

And, someone else commented:

"One young man wanted our security when he had rang us. When asked for proof he got quite indignant. We always say write to us if it's that important."

However, you should never be rushed into handing over personal or financial information. If something doesn't feel right, do what these customers did and listen to your instincts. Leave the conversation if it makes you at all uncomfortable. A legitimate organisation should never try to talk you out of taking security checks.

Be careful - even if asked to call your bank back

Other people warned that, if you are called on your landline, cybercriminals can still be on the phone even after you hang up. So, as a precaution, you should use a different phone, or phone someone you know to clear the line before calling your bank.

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we are aware of one sophisticated scheme in which scammers told people that their bank accounts had been hacked. But cleverly, they also encouraged the victims to phone their banks back using trusted contact details. But these scammers didn't hang up. Instead, they stayed on the line and played a dial tone. When the intended victims called their banks, the scammers impersonated a bank employee and asked them to confirm their PIN and bank details.

The good news is that, over the last few years, the phone companies have put measures in place to ensure that the line clears regardless of who hangs up first. But to stay safe, you should NEVER disclose security details such as your PIN or full banking password to anyone, including anyone calling from your bank. Banks will never ask for this information. Likewise, they won't ask you to transfer money to another account for safekeeping. If you think you've already been a victim of this scam, contact your bank or card company immediately.

Just because a number looks genuine, doesn't mean it is

Don't assume an email, text or phone call is authentic. Just because someone knows some personal information about you (i.e. your address, mother's maiden name etc.), that doesn't mean they are genuine. Likewise, even if a call or text comes through from a number that looks authentic, it might not be. As one person pointed out:

"Also by spoofing a mobile number they can add messages to a pre existing thread on your phone, so it appears the bank has just replied to your message, or their messages appear under your banks name along with the genuine ones!"

This is correct. Most phones let you see the number of the person calling before you answer. However, fraudsters often change the caller ID to mirror that of your bank. This is called spoofing. What this means is that calls and texts could show up as being from your bank, even if they are not. Text messages from criminals can even appear alongside legitimate texts sent out by your bank.

Is mobile banking the problem?

According to some people who read our post, mobile banking has made it easier for criminals.

"All this scamming never happened before mobile online banking. Stick to banking in branch. Banks have only themselves to blame when they have to pay compensation."

It's true that our digital world comes with additional risk. But there is no going back, and the convenience of online banking cannot be underestimated. However, it is up to the banks to protect their online customers. Although, in our experience, such protection is sometimes woefully lacking. So, with criminals becoming increasingly savvy, we all must do what we can to protect ourselves from banking scams. And claim compensation where the banks have failed, as this is often the only way to force them to improve their security processes.

Get digitally aware

At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we want to reduce the number of data violations and successful cyber scams taking place across the UK. To do this, we are raising awareness of this issue and educating people to help stop fraudsters in their tracks.

For more advice on how to keep safe, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Alternatively, if you have been the victim of an online scam, contact us find out how we can help you to recover any losses.