Bank Impersonation is June’s Scam of the Month
The UK’s best community bank, Metro Bank, is offering consumer advice and guidance about bank impersonation - the scam of the month for June. Bank impersonation scams are when a customer receives contact - which could include a call or text - that they believe is from their own bank, but is in fact from a fraudster.
Criminals use a tactic called ‘spoofing’ to make their call or text appear genuine by cloning the number or sender identification which the bank actually uses. The fraudster then lies about a security issue, asking the customer to move their funds because “fraud” has occurred on their account. The fraudster tries to convince the customer to move funds to a new account that they have opened or taken over, presenting this action as either help to catch a criminal, or to protect existing deposits. The new account is managed by the fraudster and once funds have been moved, the fraudster will immediately withdraw them as the scam is complete.
“This is perhaps one of the most insidious scams as it breaches the trust consumers have with their banks - we want the public to be more aware of this so they can spot and avoid this scam, explains Adam Speakman, head of fraud and investigations at Metro Bank. “It can be hard to spot as there is potential for the genuine bank contact number to be spoofed – and even for the fraudster’s text message to appear in the genuine text stream from your bank. But, again, alarm bells should be ringing if you are being pressed to act fast. Your bank will never ask you to move funds, especially if it’s to a different bank. Remember that new bank accounts can only ever be opened by customer request – we would never open an account on a customer’s behalf on the phone, nor pressure you into doing so.”
Spot the Scam…
- If you are being asked to move funds to a new account created by the “bank” without your previous and explicit request.
- If you are being asked to act fast because your money is “at risk.”
- If you are told your account is unsafe and your money needs to be moved to a “safe account”.
- If you are being told you’re supporting law enforcement action.
- If the bank asks to use download software to take over/control of your devices (phone, laptop etc.).
Block the Scam…
- If you receive a call, text, e-mail or any other type of contact asking for you to make an urgent payment. Hang up and call your bank back using the number on the back of your bank card.
- If the caller advises that they have set up a new bank account for you to move your money to. Hang up the call.
- If you feel threatened or are being asked to act urgently. Hang up the call and call your bank back using the number on the back of your bank card.