Bank ex­perts warn of phone spoof scam

De­cep­tion in­volves new num­bers sys­tem to swin­dle cus­tomers

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - News - Mark O’Re­gan

BANK cus­tomers have been tar­get­ted with a ‘num­ber spoof­ing’ scam to trick vic­tims into think­ing they are talk­ing to their bank.

This lat­est de­cep­tion is known as ‘num­ber spoof­ing’ be­cause the fraud­sters call cus­tomers us­ing a phone num­ber which mim­ics that of their bank. They do this us­ing a de­vice which can copy any num­ber — even if the one they are call­ing from is en­tirely dif­fer­ent.

The fraud­sters call cus­tomers with­out any warn­ing pos­ing as bank staff. They per­suade their vic­tim to part with fi­nan­cial and per­sonal de­tails. It is of­ten done on the pre­tence that fraud has been de­tected on their ac­count.

When a cus­tomer re­ceives a call on their mo­bile or home phone the num­ber of their bank will ap­pear on the dis­play. The vic­tims, who think they are talk­ing to their bank, are then told to move their money to a se­cure ac­count.

Many scam­mers will make the sit­u­a­tion sound ur­gent in a bid to rush an ac­count holder into hand­ing over de­tails.

Ex­perts say cus­tomers should be sus­pi­cious if they are asked for their four digit PIN, full on­line bank­ing pass­words, or to trans­fer or with­draw money.

Bank­ing and Pay­ments Fed­er­a­tion Ire­land (BPFI) has now warned cus­tomers to be wary of un­so­licited calls.

Speak­ing to the Sun­day In­de­pen­dent ahead of Ire­land’s first ever fi­nan­cial fraud aware­ness week, which starts to­mor­row, Ni­amh Daven­port, Fraud Aware­ness and Pay­ments Man­ager at BPFI, stressed greater public knowl­edge is needed on this form of il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity.

“In cases where a fraud­ster calls a cus­tomer pre­tend­ing to be from their bank, they might start off by say­ing that they’ve no­ticed some sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions on their ac­count.

“Al­ter­na­tively, they might claim there was an in­ci­dent of fraud on the ac­count, and ask to run through a few se­cu­rity ques­tions over the phone.

“That’s level one. Then they’ll claim that in or­der to keep the per­son’s money safe they must go to their lo­cal post of­fice, and trans­fer money to a par­tic­u­lar ac­count.

“They in­struct them that if they’re queried when tak­ing out the money, to tell the branch staff that it’s for a fam­ily wed­ding or some­thing like that, which is a plau­si­ble sit­u­a­tion. So the money is trans­ferred to the fraud­ster’s ac­count and, of course, the money is gone fairly swiftly.”

The BPFI’s new week-long cam­paign aims to raise aware­ness and prevent in­ci­dents of scams among con­sumers and busi­nesses.

It comes as new re­search shows eight in 10 peo­ple have been tar­geted by some form of fraud. And al­most six in 10 feel more vul­ner­a­ble now than they did two years ago.

A new web­site, www. frauds­mart.ie, will of­fer up­dates on new scams and tips on how peo­ple can pro­tect them­selves against fraud­sters.

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