Spotting fraud and scams
While fraud and scams are not new, advances in technology give criminals more ways to attempt to access your money. Getting to know the techniques they use can help you protect yourself and your money.
Fraud or scam?
In everyday use, the words fraud and scams are used interchangeably. However, we think it’s useful to use clear definitions.
Fraud happens to you, scams happen with you.
Examples of fraud would be having your card skimmed, identity theft and computer malware which steals your details. In these cases, you’re not aware of what the criminals are doing and haven’t given your authorisation.
Examples of scams would be where a criminal attempts to convince you to send them money, give away access to your bank details or launder money. Scams actively involve you as the account owner and work through engineering a situation to make you believe it’s genuine, so you give your authorisation.
Below are some of the most common types of fraud and scams.
Remote access scam
Remote access scams attempt to convince you to allow them access to your Online Banking. These are often cold calls from scammers who say that they’re from telecommunication or computer companies or (for businesses in particular) an IT department or Technical Support.
The warning signs are:
- a cold-caller says they can fix your slow computer or refund you money
- an unexpected call from someone claiming to be from your IT department or Tech Support
- the caller asks you to give permission for them to remotely access your computer
- the caller asks for your banking or personal details.
These callers will ask you to log on to your Online Banking, to check it’s not been impacted by the fault, and then attempt to remotely access the computer to ‘help’ you with the problem.
Giving anyone remote access allows them to release malicious software and gain access to personal data.
Cash machine skimming
Using a cashpoint is easy, convenient and almost always safe. But sometimes criminals tamper with cash machines to steal your card information, or PIN.
Here are a few things to look out for when you use a cashpoint.
- A device might be placed over the card slot which scans your card details, or a fake keypad may have been placed over the top of the real one. Look out for parts of the cashpoint machine that appear a different colour or material to the rest.
- Tiny cameras the size of a pinhead can be drilled into cash machines which photograph you and your card while you take cash out. Look out for damage or possibly stickers that could be trying to cover up damage where holes have been drilled.
- Someone could simply be looking over your shoulder while you’re taking out cash to try and see your PIN. Then they find a way to take your card by distracting you.
Keeping yourself safe at the cashpoint:
- if the cash machine looks like it has been tampered with, don’t use it
- when entering your PIN, cover it with your hand
- look out for anybody standing too close or trying to distract you.