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Author: Internal Customer Services Agent

The potential fraud activities brought about by telephone banking

For many of us the use of online and telephone based banking has become a way of life, no longer do we prefer to visit the branch of our local bank in order to access our accounts and the services it provides. The modern day consumer has welcomed many different platforms for accessing the services offered by our banks, whether this be via mobile banking, online banking or telephone banking. In fact NatWest even offering a ‘bank on the go facility’ whereby bank managers take to the streets via the means of a purpose built ‘banking van’. This increased access to our accounts and therefore our money means that of course, there are also increasing opportunities for fraudsters. It is only recently that Barclays have introduced a television commercial which does not in any shape or form intend to sell or advertise their products or services and instead talks specifically about the dangers of bank related fraud activities. The message of fraud prevention is therefore certainly a priority of the major banks and it would appear as consumers we are required more so than ever, to be alert and smart in our approach to any form of banking which is not branch related.

Most recently a new scam has emerged concerning the skimming of vital security based information when customers communicate directly with their banks via telephone banking. For many years fraudsters have been sending emails to suggest urgent calls are needed to our banks concerning our accounts and then the number provided in said emails is that of the fraudster; who intend to obtain the personal information required to access our accounts. In fact these sort of scams have been around for years but unsurprisingly they still cause distress and loss to consumers’ year in and year out. London police statistics report as many as 8,000 of these emails are received each and every month and in reality, the true figure is alarmingly higher. Access to our emails has been a quick and easy in for fraudsters for many years but of course as spam emails become an increasingly common, all be it frustrating occurrence, they no longer pack as much of a punch. It is because of this fact that this recently discovered fraudulent scheme appears to demonstrate a new level of intelligence for fraudsters concerned.

The initial method of contact on behalf of the fraudster is nothing new in respect to the think an email or text will be generated to call the bank as a matter of urgency. The twist comes that if an individual decides to call the number provided the fraudster will actually direct the call to the genuine bank in question. This will then of course require the individual to provide the relative security information to the genuine bank to simply discover the email/text was not genuine and nothing further is required. What is most shocking about this fraudulent scheme is that this call is being recorded by the fraudster to gather the required information to pass security at a later date. Of course this then means the fraudster can access your online banking and therefore money. Given that the equipment required to record calls in this manner are relatively cheap to purchase, it is likely this type of fraud will continue to be present for some time it would seem.

Clearly banking based fraud is not something which will be going away in the near or perhaps even distant future. As such it is important as modern day consumers that we remain smart when it comes to our banking choices. All of the major banks provide direct advice for how to help reduce fraud and with that guidance for how they will contact us. This means that we must ensure we are aware of our banks individual procedures for contact and be weary when correspondence outside these parameters arrives. If there is an element of doubt regarding the authenticity of communication consumers are advised to call known numbers provided by the bank or visit a branch directly before going down a route which could prove costly. It is also important to ensure we are doing our ‘bit’ in terms of security of our devices we choose to use to assess our accounts electronically. Nowadays many millions of us use our mobile phones to control our banking and as such we must hold a level of responsibility for ensuring the devices security is up to date and in order at every given opportunity.