September 8, 2017

Consumers are warned to be alert for any suspicious phone calls, texts and emails from fraudsters claiming to be from their bank, the police or other trusted companies, following the potential data breach at Equifax announced today [September 8 2017].

Fraudsters use the publicity surrounding such events to make their scam approaches appear more credible, and play on the fears of their victims.

The fraudulent communications often claim that, subsequent to an apparent data breach, there has been fraud on a customer’s account and urge people to act quickly to safeguard funds. The fraudster will then persuade their victim to divulge personal or financial information, or even to transfer money directly into a so-called ‘safe account’.

All consumers are reminded that banks or the police will never contact you asking for your online banking password or for you to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons.

Katy Worobec, Head of Fraud and Financial Crime Prevention, Cyber and Data Sharing at UK Finance, said:

“Criminals often seek to exploit data breaches, so it’s vital to be alert. Be extremely wary of any call, text or email out of the blue, even if they state there has been fraud on your account. Fraudsters may already have some information about you, so do not take this as confirmation that their approach is genuine.

“Never give out any personal information if you are at all suspicious. Instead contact your bank on a number that you know, waiting five minutes before you make the call.”

Advice to consumers on steps to take to avoid this type of scam:

Be wary of:

  • Any calls, texts or emails purporting to be from your bank, the police or a telecoms company asking for personal or financial details, or for you to transfer money.
  • Cold callers who suggest you hang up the phone and call them back. Fraudsters can keep your phone line open by not putting down the receiver at their end.

Remember:

  • Your bank or the police will never call you to ask for your 4 digit PIN or your online banking password, or for you to transfer money to a new account for “fraud reasons”.
  • If you feel something is suspicious or feel vulnerable, hang up and then call your bank or card issuer on their advertised number to report the fraud.

Never disclose your:

  • Four digit card PIN to anyone, including the bank or police.
  • Your password or online banking codes.
  • Personal details unless you are sure who you are talking to.