Tuesday 24 October 2017

Bank experts warn of phone spoof scam

Deception involves new numbers system to swindle customers

When a customer receives a call on their mobile or home phone the number of their bank will appear on the display. Stock photo
When a customer receives a call on their mobile or home phone the number of their bank will appear on the display. Stock photo
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

Bank customers have been targeted 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.

Sunday Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News