How to Prevent Phone Scams & Bank Fraud

How to Prevent Phone Scams & Bank Fraud

What's the Story on Bank Scams?

  • A total of £23.6 million was lost in 2014 due to fraudsters tricking people across the UK into transferring money directly into their bank accounts, new figures from Financial Fraud Action (FFA UK) show.
  • The data was released as Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) launched its annual national awareness week, with a focus on phone scams in partnership with FFA UK, whose members include banks, credit, debit and charge card issuers.

What Do Experts Say about Bank Fraud?

  • Experian LogoExperian - a global information services group - conducted their own research on phone scams and bank fraud which has shown a 15 per cent increase in cases of suspected fraud so far this year, compared to last year, with the most notable increase of 25 per cent among those aged 18 to 30 years old.
  • Experian's data also revealed a substantial rise of identity theft with current accounts being the fastest growing targets for identity thieves – a growth that has coincided with the seven day current account switching launch.

Fight Bank Fraud
What's Being Done to Fight Bank Fraud & Phone Scams?

  • Now NHW is hoping its army of 173,000 volunteers can help crack down on the crooks and help people avoid becoming victims of bank fraud by telling people across England and Wales to "hang up on fraud." They will ask their neighbours to share these warnings and pass on advice to three of their friends so that more than two million people can be reached by the end of the campaign.
  • The drive against fraudsters is backed by the Dedicated Card & Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), the specialist police unit funded by the banking industry to tackle criminals involved in bank fraud.
  • This is the first time that NHW has conducted a campaign on phone scams, and it reflects the changing tactics of phone scam fraudster who now prefers to minimise the risk of arrest by never coming into direct contact with his victim, organisers said.

A fraudster calling to a senior person
How Does the Fraudster Pull Off a Phone Scam?

  • The bank fraud works by the fraudster calling and pretending to be from a bank. The fraudster convinces the victim that fraud has been detected on their account and that they have to move their money into a so-called "safe account" or risk losing their savings.
  • The fraudsters have a range of tricks up their sleeve such as altering the phone number on the person’s caller ID display so that it matches their bank’s number, or referring to genuine account information, which they have somehow fraudulently obtained elsewhere.
  • Current bank fraud allows fraudsters to create mule accounts to launder funds, while also offering a springboard into related high value financial products including mortgages and car loans.
  • Consumers are being warned to be wary of cold callers who suggest the consumer hangs up the phone and calls them back. Fraudsters can keep a phone line open by not putting down the receiver at their end.

How Do You Know a Fraudster Is Attempting a Phone Scam?

Caller Asks You to Check Phone Number Displayed Caller Asks You to Check Phone Number Displayed

Banks will never ask customers to check the number showing on their telephone display matches their registered telephone number. The display cannot be trusted, as the number showing can be altered by the caller.


Phone Scammer Asks for a Password Caller Asks for Your Pin Number or Password

A bank or the police will never phone to ask for someone's four-digit card pin or online banking password, even by tapping them into the telephone keypad.


Caller Asks You to Withdraw or Transfer Funds Caller Asks You to Withdraw or Transfer Funds

They will not ask someone to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping or ask them to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons, even if they say it is in that person's name.


Courier-fraudsterCaller Suggests Sending Someone Over to Collect Personal Information

Banks or the police will not send someone to a person's home to collect their cash, pin, payment card or cheque book if they are a victim of fraud, or ask them to buy goods using their card and then hand them over for safe- keeping.

If You Suspect a Phone Scam, What Should You Do?

  • If someone feels something is suspicious or feels vulnerable, they should hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line, or where possible use a different phone line, then call their bank or card issuer on their advertised number to report the bank fraud, organisers said.
  • If someone does not have another telephone to use, they should call someone they know first to make sure the line is free.
Written by Mario Hajiloizis
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