Woman using smartphone

Fraud Awareness -

Protecting your money from fraudsters

Criminals are finding new ways to steal your data and money - here are some ways to keep protect yourself.

Published

17th September 2021

Category

Smishing scams

During the first six months of 2021 many people have fallen victim to smishing scams. Smishing is when a criminal uses an SMS text message to steal your personal data. The most common we have seen so far this year has been a Royal Mail scam – see the example below.

Royal Mail Text Scam

If a victim clicks on the link in the text, they are taken to an online form. Some time after completing the online form, the victim is called by someone claiming to be from their bank’s fraud team. The caller’s telephone number appears to be the same as on the bank’s website. The telephone number has been cloned by the fraudster.

The fraudster, pretending to be from the bank’s fraud team, claims to have identified fraudulent transactions on the card. The victim is informed that some transactions will be sent to them via SMS to verify and if the transactions are not genuine, they should disclose the authentication code in the message. The victim is being socially engineered into providing their security information. As a result, the fraudsters can successfully make high value purchases using the card.

Key messages

  • Do not click on suspicious links received out of the blue via email or SMS. Often a quick internet search will identify if this could be a scam (e.g. ‘Royal Mail text scam’).
  • Be careful about where you enter your personal information online. Do some research to confirm it is legitimate. Consider contacting the company to see if the request is genuine.
  • Fraudsters can clone telephone numbers, so if you get a call from an organisation unexpectedly, take some time to consider if it is legitimate. If you have any doubt, hang up and call the organisation back using the number on the website or a number you trust. You may need to use another telephone to do this.
  • NEVER disclose a One-Time Passcode (OTP) or your PIN over the telephone. You should only receive an OTP if you have asked for one (e.g. you are making a purchase online).
  • If you receive an OTP you are not expecting, or you believe you have been the victim of fraud, then call us on :+44 (0)20 7012 2500.
Parcel Delivery Fraud
Cryptocurrency trading on computer

Cryptocurrency scams

We have seen renewed warnings about cryptocurrency scams. There are various types of scams to be aware of, including:

  • Fake cryptocurrencies.
  • Bogus investments which claim they will invest in genuine cryptocurrencies.
  • Scammers who gain access to your system (e.g. via the installation of malware) or access to your crypto wallet, allowing them to remove the funds once invested.

Scams will promise ‘guaranteed returns’ and may utilise pressure tactics to persuade you to invest. Be aware of the use of fake celebrity endorsements on adverts and websites. Even recommendations from people you know should be considered very carefully to ensure they are not a victim of a Ponzi or pyramid scheme (where existing investors are paid returns from the funds deposited by new investors).

We advise anyone considering investing in cryptocurrency to refer to the following FCA guidance: Investing in cryptoassets, or investments and lending linked to them, generally involves taking very high risks with investors’ money. If consumers invest in these types of products, they should be prepared to lose all their money.

Mobile phone upgrade scams

We received an intelligence alert this month of a scam related to mobile phone upgrades. The scam involves a cold call being made with offers of early upgrades or new contracts at discounted prices. If convinced by the scam, victims are persuaded to hand over enough information for the mobile phone contract to be set up, including existing mobile credentials, address and bank account information. Fraudsters will use this information to order a new mobile phone from a legitimate company, however they will order a different handset to the one the victim requested.

Once victims receive their new phone and realise the handset is incorrect, they contact the fraudster (thinking it is their mobile phone company) who reassures them it was an error and provides an address to return the phone. This results in the handset being sent to the fraudster and the victim is left with no phone and a liability for the associated bill.

If you receive a cold call and are unsure who they are, hang up. Call the organisation on a recognised telephone number. You can use your mobile to call:

  • 191 for Vodafone
  • 150 for EE
  • 333 for Three
  • 202 for O2
  • 4455 for Tesco Mobile
  • 789 for Virgin Mobile
  • 150 for Sky Mobile

If you receive goods that you were not expecting then call the sender using the information contained within the parcel. If you need to return goods, follow the instructions within the parcel. Genuine mobile providers will provide a bag for free returns.

For more information on fraud prevention, please visit our Fraud Awareness page.

Smartphone debit card payment


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+44 (0)20 7012 2500

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