This involves a criminal posing as a legitimate business to gain access to your personal information or to encourage you to transfer funds to their accounts. Examples include:
- Fake websites, social media accounts or emails which are pretending to be genuine companies. They may offer deals which appear attractive, such as savings accounts with very high interest rates. What they are attempting to do is steal data through the completion of application forms or have you transfer deposits into bank accounts controlled by criminals.
- Being contacted by someone claiming to be from your bank to advise you that your account has been accessed by fraudsters. They may ask you to transfer your money into a ‘safe account’ to protect it, however the account is controlled by the criminals.
- Being contacted by your Internet Service Provider to try and improve your internet speed. They may ask to connect to your computer and ask you to log into various applications or folders to test the speed of your connection. What they are doing is getting access to secure passwords and login information.
- Being contacted by the police to help with a fraud investigation. You may be asked to transfer money or withdraw cash to aid the investigation however the reality is that they are criminals, posing as the police to steal your money.
We advise that you:
- Treat any requests out of the blue, whether via phone, email, or social media with suspicion especially where you are being asked to provide personal information or to transfer money.
- Fraudsters will frequently put you under pressure e.g. ‘you need to act now to protect your assets’, ‘if you don’t comply you are breaking the law’, ‘this offer is for a limited time and expires shortly’. Take time to consider the request and carry out further investigations to validate the request.
- Validate information you receive with other sources. Does the information match the company website? Do email addresses match previous communication?
- Fraudsters can clone telephone numbers (displayed on caller ID) and can keep telephone lines open when you hang up. If you are making a call back to validate information; call a number from your bank statement or the company website and use a different telephone where possible. If you are a client, ask to speak to someone you know.
- Fake websites and social media accounts can at first sight appear convincing. Take time to read the content. Look for issues such as spelling mistakes and formatting errors. Navigate the website to see if the all the pages look as professional as the front page and click on the logo to see if it navigates back to the home page. Double check the website address / domain name looking for suspicious entries e.g. Arbuthn0t.com, Arbuthnot.net. Check the website is secure (https as opposed to http), or that there a padlock in the address bar. On social media accounts, review posts to see if there is regular business content. Review comments for indications there are concerns with the account.
- Finally, if an offer sounds too good to be true; it usually is.
For more information on protecting yourself from fraud, please visit our Fraud News & Update pages.