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

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Cybercriminals are getting increasingly clever. And over the last few months, we have heard about some really smart and dangerous scams and cybercrime.

One such example is where people get calls 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.

Google Pay Scam

One of our team helped to stop such a scam when a friend shared her experience on Facebook. The post read:

"Just had a call off the bank. Someone has set up two phones with a Google Pay account on my card! They can now make contactless payments with their phones! They are cancelling everything now and calling me back once done!"

But, while this might look like the bank was stopping a cybercrime from happening, it didn't ring true to our data protection expert! So, she warned her friend that this might be a scam. And she advised her to contact her bank using the telephone number on the back of her bank card to check. She also told her not to transfer money to a safe account if asked to do so.

The friend was initially sure that the call from the bank was legitimate. This was because they didn't ask for any details and knew things like her home address etc. Instead, they had promised to send out a code to allow the bank to shut down the Google Play account.

But cybercriminals will often play the long game to make sure you trust them. And, after a second warning, the friend called the bank using its legitimate number to check that everything was genuine.

It wasn't. And the scammers were stopped in their tracks.

When it comes to cybercrime, not everyone has a data protection expert at hand

While it's not clear exactly how the criminals intended to defraud their potential victim, the effects could have been devastating. And not everyone has a data breach expert on hand to give them advice.

So, with criminals becoming increasingly savvy, what can you do to protect yourself from similar cyber scams?

What can you do to protect yourself from similar online scams?

  • Never disclose security details such as your PIN or full banking password to anyone (including anyone calling from your bank)
  • 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
  • Know that, just because they haven't asked you for any information, or asked to do anything, that doesn't mean you are safe
  • Know that banks or other trusted organisations will never contact you and ask you to transfer money to a secure account
  • Be aware who you're sharing your personal information with. Only give out details to a service you trust and that you've contacted directly or are expecting to be contacted by. Even then, do not hand over sensitive information
  • Don't be rushed into handing over personal or financial information
  • If something doesn't feel right listen to your instincts. Leave the conversation if it makes you at all uncomfortable. A legitimate organisation would never try to panic you out of taking security checks
  • Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text
  • If you're worried that you may be at risk, report it to your bank, the Police or Action Fraud straight away.

Also, always question who you're talking to. And always call a bank back using trusted contact details (you can usually find these on your bank cards) to check everything is genuine. Better safe than sorry.

Push Payment Fraud?

This could have been an attempt at push payment fraud. This happens when cybercriminals trick people into transferring money to them. Because the individual thinks the cybercriminal is genuine, they authorise the handover of cash. The money is then swiftly moved to different accounts, often abroad, which makes getting it back almost impossible.

PIN Scam

Or, it could have been a PIN scam. In such cases, people often get calls from their "bank" claiming to have noticed suspicious transactions. They recommend cancelling the card, but require the customer to verify his or her PIN to do so. A genuine bank will never ask for a customer's PIN.

Whatever the type of cybercrime, often these scams are highly targeted and come after a person's data has already been exposed in a data breach. This data is then exploited to convince individuals that the fraudsters are genuine.

Get digitally aware and protect yourself from cybercrime

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.