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Protecting Yourself From Bank Fraud

It has been widely reported in the mainstream press that banking fraud is growing year on year, with fraud losses across payment cards, remote banking and cheques totalling £768.8 million last year. This figure has been growing each year, and fraudsters are working harder than ever to steal money from innocent hard working people.

Protecting Yourself From Bank Fraud

Scams Are Becoming More Sophisticated

In 2016 prevented fraud equalled £1.38 billion, with £6.40 from every £10 of attempted fraud being stopped. This is down from £7.01 in every £10 being stopped in 2015.

The success rate of banking fraud is increasing due to the methods used by those committing the acts.

As banking systems are becoming more and more secure, the fraudsters attention is turning to directly targeting the customer rather than the bank’s systems.

Fraudsters are focussing their attention on impersonation and deception scams to encourage you to unknowingly hand over important security information they need.

Generally, a fraudster will initiate contact by email, text or phone call pretending to be the bank, taking the information they need to steal money from your bank account.

As fraudsters are becoming more successful in carrying out these confidence tricks that completely circumvent the bank’s security systems, consumer education is becoming the only option.

Know Your Enemy; Different Types of Scams

Fraudsters use a variety of different techniques to scam the public, we will run through some of the more common methods that you need to be aware of in order to best protect yourself.

1) Phishing emails – Phishing emails are designed to look like a genuine email from your bank (or another trusted person or company) in order to get you to willingly hand over personal information directly to the fraudsters.

You can protect yourself by doing the following:-

  • Don’t click on links in emails you’re unsure about.
  • If you receive a phishing email pretending to be from your bank, forward it to the relevant phishing email address for your bank (they’re in the infographic above).
  • Block the sender’s email address and delete the email.

2) Vishing Phone Calls (voice and phishing) – Fraudsters call a potential victim pretending to be from the bank, police or another trusted company.
If you receive an unexpected call asking for you to hand over your details, you should do the following:-

  • If asked for personal information on a cold call, hang up the phone.
  • If you accidentally share personal information, inform your bank immediately.
  • Fraudsters often stay on the line after you have hung up, so wait at least 5 minutes before calling your bank. Ideally, use a different phone to make the call.
  • If your phone has the ability to block callers, block the number to ensure the fraudster can’t call you again.

3) Smishing (phishing and SMS combined) – and is an attempt to pose as your bank, the police or a trusted company by text message.

If you receive a text message from your bank asking for personal details, asking you to call a number or give any personal information, you should do the following:-

  • Do not follow the link or call the number in the message.
  • Check the number/link in the message.
  • Contact your bank on a known number (taken from their website or the back of your bank card) to check the validity of the message and whether action is required.
  • Follow the instructions given by your bank.
  • Delete the message from your phone if it proves to be a scam.

How Do You Know Whether The Person Contacting You Is Really From Your Bank?

Knowing Your Banks Security Measures is the key to avoiding being scammed. Banks publish certain information that enables you to identify whether the communication is really from them or an imposter.

The problem is that the security measures for each bank aren’t widely known by their customers and tend to be hidden away in the often ignored ‘security’ sections of their websites. Getting to know what different banks will and won’t ask you can be time-consuming.

To help consumers, we’ve put together a simple infographic designed to quickly educate each banks customers on the processes and systems of each major bank.

Although each bank operates slightly differently, there are common requests that you will receive from fraudsters that you would never receive from your bank below.

What You Should Do If You Feel You Are At Risk Of Becoming A Victim Of Financial Or Banking Scams

If you think you have given away any information that may cause you to be at risk, such as online banking details, card details or other financial details, tell your bank immediately.
Follow your bank’s instructions and give them all the information you can about the incident.

Report the incident to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Education Is The Key To Ending Banking Fraud

With banking systems becoming so secure, fraudsters are relying on these tricks more and more. No matter how secure banking systems are, these scams will always work as long as people remain unaware of how to spot potential fraud and how to avoid falling victim to it.

The key to beating the fraudsters and protecting the savings of you and the people you care through education. Whether or not you fully understand the information in this article, please share it to help others to stay safe.

Financial and banking fraud is growing and only through understanding the tricks used, staying vigilant and educating others will we ever stamp it out.