13th October 2014

Poll finds millions leave themselves open to scams as banks launch campaign

The BBA is launching a fraud awareness campaign as YouGov polling reveals that millions of people in Great Britain are unwittingly leaving themselves vulnerable to scams perpetrated by fraudsters posing as their bank.

The poll assessed customers’ responses to some of the common tactics used by criminals, over the phone, via email or via text. Based on the answers, the BBA calculates that people all over the country could fall foul of the most prevalent frauds around:

  • 8 million vulnerable to “vishing” or voice phishing
  • 4 million might transfer money into another supposed “safe” account if instructed
  • 3 million could be willing to carry out “test transactions” online
  • 1.7 million would pass their bank card over to a courier on their doorstep if they carried some form of ID card

To counter this, the UK retail banks – with the support of law enforcement bodies, including the City of London Police and the National Crime Agency – have produced a new leaflet and are launching an awareness drive called Know Fraud, No Fraud in order to help their customers spot the difference between a legitimate call and a call from a fraudster.

The leaflet includes eight things your bank would never ask you (but a fraudster might), advice on how to avoid becoming a victim and instructions on what to do if you do get caught out. It will be available across the country in bank branches and police stations and also on the Know Fraud, No Fraud website – www.knowfraud.co.uk.

The leaflet sets out eight things your bank will NEVER ask you to do:

  1. Ask for your full PIN number or any online banking passwords over the phone or via email
  2. Send someone to your home to collect cash, bank cards or anything else
  3. Ask you to email or text personal or banking information
  4. Send an email with a link to a page which asks you to enter your online banking log-in details
  5. Ask you to authorise the transfer of funds to a new account or hand over cash
  6. Call to advise you to buy diamonds, land or other commodities
  7. Ask you to carry out a test transaction online
  8. Provide banking services through any mobile apps other than the bank’s official apps

 

Anthony Browne, Chief Executive of the BBA said:

“Being defrauded is a devastating experience for anyone which is why we are launching this campaign.  The more people know about fraud, the less likely they are to become victims.

“Our Know Fraud, No Fraud campaign will help you spot some of the tactics used by scammers.  Your bank would never send someone to your home to collect your cash or ask you to transfer funds to a new account.

“If you suspect you have become the victim of fraud please contact Action Fraud and your bank as soon as you can. Specially-trained staff will be able to advise on what to do next.”

City of London Police Commander Steve Head, who is the Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime, said:

“Fraud and cyber-crime is costing the UK tens of billions of pounds each year, causing significant damage to big businesses, destroying smaller businesses and ruining many individual lives. Criminals are also exploiting the technological and internet revolution to target people of all ages and from all walks of life with ever more sophisticated and convincing scams, increasingly delivered directly into the home via telephone, mobiles, laptops and tablets.

“The key to creating a safer society and stopping the fraudsters in their tracks is law enforcement working in close collaboration with government and the public and private sector to raise awareness of current and future threats and to disrupt and dismantle the networks and enablers that are facilitating much of this criminality. The BBA’s campaign to flag up the most prevalent scams against bank customers and to provide advice on how to avoid becoming the next victim is another important step in the right direction and is fully supported by the City of London Police, in its role as the National Policing Lead for Fraud.”

Nigel Kirby, Deputy Director of the Economic Crime Command, said:

“Prevention is vitally important in the UK’s fight to cut fraud and the NCA fully supports this campaign which gives people the information they need to protect themselves. If you are familiar with the ways that criminals try to scam you, then you are far less likely to become a victim of the fraudsters”

ENDS

For more information please contact the BBA press office on 0207 216 8989

Notes to Editors

Vishing

In these cases a fraudster will say they are from the bank or police, and that a fraudulent credit card payment has been spotted or a card due to expire needs to be replaced. To convince the intended victim they are genuine, the caller will suggest the customer hangs up and calls the bank back on the number printed on the back of their debit or credit card. But the fraudster never actually disconnects the line so that when you call the real number you are still speaking to them.

Often the fraudster will then ask for the customer’s PIN and then send a courier to the victim’s home to collect the bank card, promising to provide a new one. By now the assailant has obtained the victim’s name, address, bank details, card and PIN – enough to make large bogus payments.

If you have a suspicious call, if possible use another phone or wait at least two minutes for the line to disconnect before picking up and dialing again.

“Safe account”

Often criminals, posing as a bank, will instruct a customer that their account is under threat – usually from a corrupt bank employee or cyber criminals. They will be instructed by the “bank” to transfer money into a new “safe account” which is actually the fraudster’s account.

Your bank will NEVER ask you to authorise the transfer of funds to a new account or hand over cash.

Test transactions

In some circumstances, criminals pretending to be from a bank might email a customer asking you to perform a “test” transaction online, sometimes claiming there is some technical issue on their account.

Your bank will NEVER ask you to carry out a test transaction online.

Courier fraud

Often a follow-up to vishing (see previous), having posed on the phone as a fake bank employee to extract key security information – such as a customer’s full PIN code – the criminal my also say that they are sending an official courier to their home to collect the corresponding card. These couriers will have “official” identification.

Another courier fraud ruse is for the criminal to pose as the bank in order to ask the victim to participate in a fake police investigation, usually involving a corrupt bank employee who has been stealing from customer accounts. Typically the customer will be asked to withdraw substantial sums of money over the counter at their bank without arousing the suspicion of the staff. They are then told to wait at home for it to be collected by a courier for safe keeping.

Your bank will NEVER send someone to your home to collect cash, bank cards or anything else. 

Fraud facts:

In the year ending March 2014, 211,344 fraud offences were recorded in England and Wales (ONS). This is equivalent to 4 offences recorded per 1,000 population. This represents a volume increase of 17% compared with the previous year.

In 2012 the UK government fraud indicator suggested that fraud against UK individuals costs £6.1 billion per annum, based upon estimates on the scale of mass marketing fraud, identity fraud, online ticket fraud, private rental property fraud and electricity scams.

Polling results:

Polling National average
% of those who said they would “call their bank or the police immediately” if they received a call they suspected was fraudulent, and would do so from the SAME phone, leaving them vulnerable to “vishing” 16%
When asked to imagine that their bank telephoned them due to a severe security breach, after going through security procedures…
% of those who said they thought it would be safe to transfer funds into a “safe” account while the breach is investigated 9%
% of those who thought it would be safe to carry out test transactions online under the instruction of the bank 7%
% of those who would think it safe to agree to pass their card over to a courier carrying a bank or police identity card 4%

 

Regional breakdown % of those who said they would “call their bank or the police immediately” if they received a call they suspected was fraudulent, and would do so from the SAME phone, leaving them vulnerable to “vishing”
North 19%
Midlands 14%
East 13%
London 16%
South 14%
Wales 27%
Scotland 17%
When asked to imagine that their bank telephoned them due to a severe security breach, after going through security procedures…
% of those who said they thought it would be safe to transfer funds into a “safe” account while the breach is investigated
North 10%
Midlands 6%
East 7%
London 12%
South 7%
Wales 12%
Scotland 9%
% of those who thought it would be safe to carry out test transactions online under the instruction of the bank
North 7%
Midlands 6%
East 7%
London 8%
South 6%
Wales 8%
Scotland 7%
% of those who would think it safe to agree to pass their card over to a courier carrying a bank or police identity card
North 4%
Midlands 3%
East 3%
London 3%
South 3%
Wales 3%
Scotland 5%

 

  •  All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2034 adults, of which 2029 were bank account holders. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26th – 28th September 2014.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
  • The population figures in the release were calculated by BBA using the data for the GB population aged 18 and above (Total: 49,103,873). Annual Mid-Year Population Estimates for the UK, Office for National Statistics, 2014.
    • 99.79% identified that they held a bank account = 49,000,754
    • 16.45% of bank account holders would call the bank/ police immediately using the same phone after receiving a call they suspected was fraudulent. 49,000,754 x 16.45% = 8,060,624
    • 8.68% of bank account holders think it would be safe to authorise a transfer of money into another safe account allocated by their bank to protect funds while they investigate the breach. 49,000,754 x 8.68% = 4,253,265
    • 6.75% of bank account holders think it would be safe to carry out test transactions online under the instruction of the bank. 49,000,754 x 6.75% = 3,307,550
    • 3.61% of bank account holders think it would be safe to agree to pass my card over to an arranged courier carrying a bank or police identity card. 49,000,754 x 3.61% = 1,768,927

* Know Fraud is a trademark of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, which is part of the City of London Police

Know Fraud leaflet (2MB PDF)

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