Fraudsters are constantly on the prowl, and making use of phone and text – which millions of Britons interact with every day – to target unsuspecting victims. This was the case for Brian, a man who became embroiled in a dangerous scam, as shared by the Financial Ombudsman.
Brian received a message he thought was from his bank, and it looked legitimate.
This is because the message appeared in the same chain of messages on his phone as genuine correspondence he’d had from the provider in the past.
The text message warned there had been a fraudulent payment associated with his account, an update that understandably worried Brian.
He was told to phone his bank immediately, using the phone number provided in the text.
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Its website explained: “One ploy that criminals use to try to bypass our fraud checks is to make contact with you directly.
“This is typically a phone call, but can also be done using instant messaging services like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
“Once a fraudster has found out what they need to know, they’ll tell you to take actions that will compromise your account.
“These include sharing one-time codes with them, replying to text alerts incorrectly or deleting your mobile banking app.”
As a result, HSBC has urged people to be especially careful when replying to text alerts.
If they do so incorrectly, they could inadvertently confirm a fraudulent transaction as genuine.
HSBC added: “If someone tries to convince you over the phone to ignore the instructions in a text alert, that’s a tell-tale sign it’s a fraudster.”
With regards to scams such as those Brian encountered, HSBC highlighted a major warning flag.
If someone gets a call out of the blue claiming to be from their bank, they should hang up immediately.
They can then call back on a number they know to be genuine to ensure their safety.