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Banking Fraud – Be Alert!

Posted on 16th June, 2020

In this week’s blog, Associate Lawyer, Leigh Ferguson from our Corporate Recovery and Dispute Resolution department is discussing Fraud, and in particular, Banking Fraud.

In the current climate fraudsters are utilising the disruption caused by COVID – 19.  Fraudsters are sophisticated and will prey on our insecurities to phish for information to obtain account details, log on passwords in order to get their hands on your money.

It is estimated that over 900,000 of us will be the victim of Banking Fraud.  My client was such a victim after being convinced by fraudsters that his account had been compromised and it was imperative monies needed to be moved to a safe and secure account.  What was interesting about this fraud was that the telephone number used by the fraudsters was in fact an identical number used by the Bank.  The scam is known as “number spoofing” with fraudsters cloning the telephone number of an organisation they wish to impersonate and then making it appear on the victim’s caller ID display when they telephone them.

My client genuinely thought his account had been compromised and the number appeared to be that of the Banks.  My client was, rightly so, wary of the call and told the caller he wished to speak to his Bank in order to verify the call was legitimate.  Unknown to my client, the fraudster held the call open and played a fake dialling tone.

Two scammers working together pretending to conduct security verification including bank security code words an act to convince my client that the call was genuine.

Sadly, my client was the victim of a sophisticated fraud and was defrauded in the sum of £100,000 over a period of two days emptying out his account.  The bank initially refused to reimburse the monies defrauded, stating that my client had failed in protecting his account and allowing ten transactions to proceed over two days.  However, with our intervention and the issuance of guidance from the FFA the bank overturned the decision on the basis that my client had in fact tried to verify the call was genuine and the Bank was aware of the irregular banking transactions but failed to contact my client and/or halt the transactions.  The Banks along with the FFA are working together to help customers and counter the fraudsters.  As with COVID – 19 stay safe and protect yourself, if you receive an unsolicited telephone call from what appears to be from your bank never reveal details of your password, logon details or account numbers. Banks will not contact you in this manner. Be wary of bogus telephone numbers which purport to be from your Bank, if in doubt hang up and leave the call, wait for the line to clear and then contact your Bank using the number identified on Bank Statements or the reverse of your card.

Contact your Bank immediately if you think you have been the victim of fraud and report the scam to Action Fraud.  Stay safe and alert!

Leigh Ferguson, Associate Lawyer, Corporate Recovery & Dispute Resolution

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