One of the most common methods we see involves a fraudster posing as your bank or the police. They claim there’s been fraud on your bank account and you need to act quickly to protect your money.
Their solution is for you to transfer your money to a so-called ‘safe account’. But the account is actually controlled by the fraudster and when you move the money, they steal it.
In a twist on this scam, the criminal asks you to assist in a police investigation of supposedly corrupt staff in a bank or foreign money exchange, who they claim are issuing fake currency.
You’re then asked to visit the branch and withdraw a large amount of cash and take it home, where it is collected by a fraudster posing as a policeman or a courier.
To make their call appear genuine, fraudsters often use a tactic called ‘number spoofing’. This enables them to alter the phone number from which they are calling so that it matches your bank’s number. Then they ask you to check your handset display in an attempt to convince you it’s a real call.
Other common phone scams include:
being told that your computer has a virus or that your internet connection is running slow. The fraudster then takes control of your computer to ‘fix’ the problem, but instead actually installs software which steals your data. They may also watch you as you’re asked to log into your online banking account.
claiming that you’re due a refund or compensation for poor service, such as for your internet connection. They get your bank details, but then say they have accidentally sent thousands of pounds, rather than hundreds, an error which will cost them their job. They then ask for the difference to be refunded via a wire transfer.
How to stay safe
Fraudsters can sound extremely professional and will do all they can to convince you that their call is genuine.
But there are some simple steps you can take to keep safe.
It’s really important to be wary of any unsolicited phone calls, especially when they ask for your personal or financial details.