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Bank Scam Warning: tips to protect yourself
Jan 15 2018

Bank Scam warning: don’t let fraudsters take money from you or your loved ones

Have you heard of ring-fencing? It’s new legislation that affects the UK’s largest banking groups. For customers of some banks, it will mean sort codes and account numbers may change.


After the global financial crisis which began in 2007, the UK Government arranged an independent review of the ways UK banking groups are organised. This independent review recommended several important reforms designed to strengthen the financial system. Ring-fencing is one of these reforms and was introduced in the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act of 2013. It means the largest UK banking groups have to comply with new requirements to ring-fence their retail activities (like current accounts, savings accounts and payments).


While most banks won’t be changing sort codes and account numbers for UK customers as a result of ring-fencing, there are concerns that fraudsters could use the changes that are happening as an opportunity to target you and your family


The fraudsters could contact you through spoofed or hacked email accounts, pretending to be a legitimate person or business you’ve already been communicating with, for example, a solicitor or builder.


In short, you should never set up new or change existing payment details without first double-checking the request is genuine. You should always contact the person or company making the change, ideally face to face or by telephone and by using existing contact details only.


In short, in order to protect yourself from fraud and scams, you must take extra care. Below we’ve outlined some key pointers to help you identify a scam and avoid being caught by fraudsters.


1. Your bank will never ask you to reveal your security number, passwords, card expiry date or card security number


Some scams involve fraudsters who attempt to convince you to make transactions yourself. These transactions are harder for banks to spot as they often involve you using your PIN, verifying your security details, or using your normal device. If you have any suspicions over the legitimacy of a request please contact your bank immediately and before you make any payments.


2. What does ‘this page contains both secure and non-secure items’ mean?


This message occurs when your secure banking webpage (the security is indicated by the https:// before the web address) has a non-secure element in it, such as a picture. In cases such as this, you can click ‘yes’ to view the webpage.


3. Don’t be a victim of phone fraud


Telephone scams – where fraudsters pretend to be banks, building societies or the police – try to get people to reveal their financial information, are on the rise. Your bank will never ask for personal information such as your 4-digit card PIN or ask you to withdraw or transfer money to a new account.


4. Stay aware of common threats


More than ever banks are seeing an increase in incidents where criminals are using ingenious ways of persuading customers to part with their personal details, whether over the phone or via the web. Prevention through awareness is the best way to avoid becoming a victim of a scam. If you think you’ve responded to a scam email or given your details to the wrong people, you must contact your bank.


5. Strengthen your defences against online identity theft


Online fraudsters are using more sophisticated methods to commit online fraud. They use hard to detect techniques to steal your online identity when you bank online. They do this without you even being aware that it’s happened.


While it’s important to have anti-virus software and firewalls installed on your computer, they can’t always protect you from these attacks, as fraudsters are developing more sophisticated ways of stealing your online identity such as through malware.


Malware is a general term used to refer to hostile or intrusive software and is short for malicious software, sometimes known as a computer contaminant. It’s any software used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. It can be said that malware is made to steal information whilst a virus is intended to harm your computer.


Many Banks recommend you download the free Rapport security software to help guard yourself against internet banking identity theft and fraud. It can be used alongside your existing anti-virus and firewall protection to strengthen your defences.


It is also advisable to have strong passwords and so here are a few tips to help you:


  • Use a mixture of character types – upper / lower / numeric / special characters
  • Don’t use the same password for different services
  • Make use of a trusted password management tool
  • Apple provides a built-in program that synchronises security information across all your devices
  • Understand and use two-factor-authentication (also known as 2FA, two-step verification or TFA), it is an extra layer of security that requires not only a password and username but also something that only, and only, that user has on them such as a mobile phone of a special dongle


Extra cyber security training


By visiting the ESET website you can take some free Cyber Training. The cyber training course covers everything you need to know to keep your business’ data and devices safe, including:


  • Threats Overview: Malware, phishing & social engineering
  • Password Policies: Best practices; 2FA and how to use it
  • Web Protection: What to look for; what to avoid
  • Email Protection: What to look for; what to avoid
  • Preventive Measures: Best practices for security at home and business


By combining these security ‘good-habits’ with advanced anti-phishing, anti-malware and anti-fraud tools as well as a quality firewall, regular security updates, backups and a solid anti-virus system you will be putting yourself, your family and your business well on the way to being protected. However, it’s always worth being vigilant, remember that your cyber security is only as good as the person applying it, making sure your knowledge, training, processes and standards are up to date is crucial, and this need only increases as we approach GDPR.


Flex Information Technology can help businesses succeed through smart and flexible IT solutions with quality support and service and are a highly respected ICT support company based in Oxfordshire. If you think you need a hand getting your cyber security under control, why not give us a call?


Please contact us today for an initial discussion.