Beware of Inventive Fraudulent Scams

The threat from fraudsters continues to grow as criminals find ever more inventive ways to try and con people out of their money.

Figures from a recent report, the Annual Fraud Indicator, show that fraud now costs the UK more than £190 billion a year.

According to Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), fraudsters are using tactics such as scam emails and fake adverts on social media or internet searches which offer substantial discounts on goods and services to trick people into visiting fake websites and handing over their card details.

As well as emails and telephone calls, a relatively recent scam has seen fraudsters writing to bank customers on what appears to be official banking correspondence, asking them to call a contact number regarding their bank account. When individuals call they are asked to provide their personal bank details over the phone. If they agree, these are then used by the fraudsters to plunder their account. Some fraudsters have even targeted people over Twitter.

Common scams also include invoice redirection when a customer receives an email, apparently from their supplier, advising that their bank details have changed. The customer sends the payment, which relates to a genuine invoice, to the new beneficiary account. It is later discovered that the supplier’s email account has been hacked or spoofed.

Supplier impersonation is another current scam. The customer receives a call from someone claiming to be from a company eg BT, advising that there is a problem with their account. The purpose of the call is to either dupe the customer into making a payment or to trick the customer into disclosing security information so that the criminal can access their account to make payments.

Daniel Vaughan, Corporate Banking Manager at Handelsbanken, said: “The scams being perpetrated by fraudsters are constantly evolving, as they look for new vulnerabilities to exploit. Increasingly they are targeting individuals rather than banks and other financial institutions because there is no fraud prevention strategy in place and generally more of a lack of awareness.

“People need to think of their personal information as a precious item that needs to be protected. A few simple steps will help such as ensuring you never have the same password for different accounts as one breach will leave all of your accounts vulnerable to fraudsters. It’s also essential that people consider what information they send by email. If you wouldn’t put it on a postcard then you should not send it by email, unless it’s encrypted.

“Regularly clearing emails from sent boxes is a good habit to get into, as a lot of valuable information is sent via email and could be accessed by fraudsters in the event that the email account is hacked.”

It is also essential to remember that banks, including Handelsbanken, will never ask you for your online banking security information, eg, log on card number, codes from the card reader, user names or passwords.