Businesses and individuals are being encouraged to redouble their vigilance as fraudsters fake security measures in order to gain the information needed to access and drain bank accounts of funds.
In one instance, an academic received a call that was supposedly from her bank saying that her account had been frozen owing to unusual transfers. The call had begun with some initial security questions, which she had answered.
The caller said that they would call back once she had had an opportunity to review her accounts. When she checked, her account had indeed been marked as ‘FROZEN’.
On receiving a callback, she asked the caller to verify his identity, at which point he sent her a text message ostensibly providing confirmation of his name and job title.
She was then told that she would need to set up a new account in order to protect her funds and was asked to transfer £20,000 to the account number and sort code provided by the caller, which she did.
It was only after contacting her bank the next day that it became clear that she had been the victim of a fraud.
Further investigations revealed that it had been her responses to the security questions asked as part of the initial call that had provided sufficient information to give the fraudsters enough access to the account to change the name to ‘FROZEN’.
Because the actual transfer of the funds had been made by the account holder, the bank would not provide compensation for her losses.
RBS, the bank involved, said: “The bank provides clear guidance on these scams. Customers should never make a payment at the request of someone over the phone purporting to be from their bank. RBS would never ask customers to move money to keep it safe from fraud.”