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Common Threats

More than ever banks are seeing an increase in incidents where criminals are using ingenious ways of persuading customers to part with their personal details, their credit and debit cards and ultimately their money. Prevention through awareness is the best way to avoid becoming a victim of a scam. The following information is designed to inform you of the types of threats you may encounter, along with some simple steps that can be taken to protect yourself.

If you think you have responded to a scam email or given your details to the wrong people, call our Online Banking Helpdesk on 0845 600 4388 (7am-11pm Monday to Saturday and 9am-9pm Sundays).

As you would expect, we are always keen to hear about the latest scams - so please forward anything suspicious to phishing@santander.co.uk.

Be assured that we do investigate every report we receive, though cannot guarantee a response to each email forwarded.

* Call charge information

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The Little Book of Big Scams

Telephone Scam/Courier Scam

Phishing

Text Message Phishing

Mule Accounts

Cheque Fraud

Investment Fraud / Share Sale

419 Fraud/Advanced Fee Fraud

Trojans (Malware)

 

The Little Book of Big Scams

The Metropolitan Police have published a book detailing golden rules to help you beat scammers, descriptions of a number of common scams and tips to avoid becoming victim to these scams.  We highly recommend you read this book, you can find it here

Telephone Scam/Courier Scam

Banks are seeing an increase in incidents where criminals are persuading customers to hand over their credit and debit cards or to transfer funds from their account.

Warning Signs

  • Call purporting to be from Santander, the Police or another financial institution
     
  • Suggest you call the number on the back of your card or 999 for verification. (the fraudster does not hang up and stays on the line so you are still speaking to the fraudster or one of their associates) 
     
  • Arrange to have your debit and credit cards collected by a courier
     
  • Request you to key in your PIN using your telephone keypad
     
  • Advise that another account has been set up to keep your money safe and urge you to transfer your money to the new account immediately
     
  • Insist that it is necessary for you to act urgently to protect your funds
     
  • Request you to withdraw and handover cash along with your card as  needed for forensic evidence
     
  • Request that you do NOT discuss the reason for withdrawal with branch staff



Safety First

  • Call a family member or friend first to ensure that the previous call has been disconnected or alternatively use another phone line to call Santander If you are suspicious or feel vulnerable, don't be afraid to terminate the call, say no to requests for information or ask for advice from someone you trust.
     
  • Do NOT enter your PIN details into the phone - Santander will NEVER ask for your PIN details
     
  • Do NOT allow your cards to be collected
     
  • Do NOT be persuaded to transfer funds out of your account
     
  • Do NOT hand over cash
     
  • If you are concerned that you have divulged your security details, contact us immediately on 08459 724 724


For further information visit Fighting Fraud Action UK
 

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Phishing

Phishing involves criminals purporting to be from Santander, or other financial institutions, sending unsolicited e-mails to lure unsuspecting people into handing over their personal details. The e-mail normally contains a link to a counterfeit web-site that requests you to enter a range of personal details.

By entering your personal details on these sites, you are providing a fraudster details necessary to access your account.

Warning Signs

  • A link within the e-mail that leads you to a site where you are asked to enter you log in and password details
     
  • A message that claims you need to log in to verify movements on your account
     
  • A general, non-personalised greeting
     
  • Receipt of e-mails from other financial institutions that you have no affiliation to
     
  • Spelling errors & random capitalisation e.g. bAnk 0nline with SanTander
     
  • Our "image and phrase" combination is missing or incorrect (this doesn't apply for mobile banking)


Safety First

  • Do not click on the link to web-site
     
  • Enter Santander's web addresses directly onto your browser
     
  • If you are concerned about the security of your account contact Santander directly rather than clicking on the link provided
     
  • Install anti-virus software that includes an anti-phishing programme
     
  • Install Trusteer Rapport. It's FREE and provides an extra safeguard when you are banking on-line
     
  • For more information on protecting yourself online visit www.getsafeonline.org
     
  • If you think you have responded to a phishing e-mail or given your details out to the wrong people, please call our online banking helpdesk on 0845 600 4388 (7am - 11pm Monday to Saturday and 9am - 9pm Sundays)
     
  • As you would expect, we are keen to hear about the latest scams, so please forward anything suspicious to phishing@santander.co.uk
     
  • Be assured that we do investigate every report we receive, though we cannot guarantee a response to each forwarded e-mail
     

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Text Message Phishing

Phishing has evolved and criminals are now targeting unsuspecting people via text message, not just via emails. Texts generally state that they are from your bank, and that they need you to update your personal details. The text normally contains a link to a counterfeit web-site that requests you to enter a range of personal details, or asks you to download a file to update your records.

By entering your personal details, you are providing a fraudster with all the details necessary to transact on your account.

Warning Signs

  • A link within the text message that leads you to a site where you are asked to enter you personal details, or leads you to download a file
     
  • A text message that claims if you do not respond within the set timescales, your account will be terminated


Safety First

  • We will NEVER send you a text message asking you to click on a link to update your details 
     
  • Do not click on the links in the text message
     
  • Ignore the instruction and delete the text message
     
  • If you are concerned about the security of your account contact Santander directly rather than clicking on the link provided
     
  • Install a mobile anti-virus software 
     
  • Please note: whilst we would NEVER include a link in a text message, we may send you a number of different advisory texts. If you are unsure whether a text message is genuine or not, please contact us directly to confirm. 
     
  • If you think you have responded to a phishing text message or given your details out to the wrong people, please call our online banking helpdesk on 0845 600 4388 (7am - 11pm Monday to Saturday and 9am - 9pm Sundays)
     
  • As you'd expect, we are keen to hear about the latest scams, so please forward anything suspicious to phishing@santander.co.uk
     
  • Be assured that we do investigate every report we receive, though we cannot guarantee a response to each forwarded text message
     
  • Here is an example of a Phishing text message:

 

"This is an automatic message by Santander Billing Team. Starting from May 10 2013, our bank introduces new authentication procedures in order to better protect private information of our account holders. Please note that accounts that are not reviewed within 48hrs are subject to termination. To avoid service interruption download the file to update your records. Thank you. Santander Bank UK."

 

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Mule Accounts

People recruited by criminals to launder money are known as 'money mules'. Criminals look to dupe innocent, vulnerable people into laundering money on their behalf by offering what looks like a legitimate job often advertised on the internet or in the newspapers. The job involves receiving money into your account and withdrawing those funds and sending the money on, whilst retaining a proportion of the funds as your commission.

Did you know that...

  • The money you are asked to transfer is normally stolen or the proceeds of crime
     
  • Handling the proceeds of crime could result in criminal prosecution 
     
  • Your accounts could be frozen and potentially closed
     
  • Wages retained by you as part of the transfer will be recovered from your account, and you may be liable for the full value of the funds you received
     
  • Details of your involvement may be shared with other banks, making the opening of another bank account difficult


Who do fraudsters target?

Effectively anyone with a bank account can be targeted, however the following groups could be considered at higher risk:

  • Students
     
  • Migrant workers
     
  • Long term unemployed
     
  • Anyone lured by a seemingly easy way to make cash


Safety First

  • Never give your bank details to anyone whom you do not know and trust
     
  • Beware of job offers that involves you using your personal account to receive and disburse funds
     
  • Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!


For further advice please visit Fighting Fraud Action UK.

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Cheque Fraud

Due to the nature of cheque fraud, a fraudster will normally try and commit cheque fraud in a way that exploits a situation or whereby the fraudster gains the trust of an innocent individual to persuade them to bank the cheque for them.

Warning Signs

Overpayment Cheque Fraud

  • You are selling an item, normally (but not necessarily) of high value
     
  • A potential buyer offers to send you a cheque for an amount which is in excess to the value of the item you are selling
     
  • A request to forward excess funds as soon as the cheque has cleared, for taxes or shipping
     
  • Requests made to withdraw the funds and send the excess funds on via a money transmission agent, or forward the funds to another bank account

 

A new acquaintance or a "friend" of a friend asks you to bank a cheque for them

  • A request is made to you to place a cheque into your account either from a new acquaintance  or a "friend of a friend"
     
  • They come up with a story as to why they cannot deposit the cheque into their own account
     
  • They may offer you a payment for your assistance
     
  • They ask you to withdraw the funds as soon as the cheque is cleared
     
  • Although different scenarios the out come is the same. The cheque normally bounces and the customer suffers the loss.


Safety First

  • Be wary of anyone offering you an overpayment for an item you are selling. Think, would you send a complete stranger money in excess to the value of an item?
     
  • Be wary of accepting international cheques especially where an overpayment has been received. They are NOT subject to usual sterling cheque clearing cycle and take longer to clear. 
     
  • Request electronic payment instead, but still be wary of any request to send an overpayment.
     
  • Make sure that you know and trust the person you are accepting a cheque from.

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Investment Fraud/Share Sale

Investment scams are better known as boiler room fraud due to the intense, high pressured sales techniques employed by the fraudsters in order to convince you to invest in worthless and or non existent shares. Contact is made out of the blue by an individual who appears professional and may offer investments in a variety of commodities such as land purchase, carbon credits or vintage wine are to name a few.  The share offer is suppose to provide the investor an excellent return in a short time frame.

Warning Signs

  • Unsolicited or cold calls
     
  • Persistent sales technique 
     
  • Limited only offers giving you no time to consider the nature of the investment
     
  • Company names which sound very familiar or have a slight variation to a legitimate company registered with the FCA
     
  • Secrecy of your investment is encouraged to ensure maximum returns
     
  • Issue of false share certificates, research reports or other documentation to make the investments seem credible
     
  • Professional looking web-sites in order to make their business appear legitimate

Remember

  • Cold calling to sell you shares or investments is illegal
     
  • Dealing with an investment fraudster will almost certainly result in you losing all your funds
     
  • As they will not be FCA authorised you will have no right to compensation
     
  • If the share offer seems to good to be true it probably is
     
  • If you have fallen victim to a scam beware of cold callers who will help you to recoup your funds and ask for a recovery fee


Safety First

  • Do not sign up to cold call investment schemes
     
  • Only deal with FCA registered stockbrokers
     
  • If you think you are a victim of an investment scam please contact us on 08459 724 724


For further information please visit Action Fraud.

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419/Advanced Fee Fraud

The advance fee fraud is not a new scam and can be traced back to the 16th century and was known as the "Spanish Prisoner Letter"  It's modern equivalent,  the 419 fraud,  is named after the section of the Nigerian penal code which prohibits this activity.

Fraudsters contact their victims by letter, phone, fax or e-mail and the scam involves the victim paying a fee upfront for the promise of wealth.

Typical examples are:

  • A lottery or cash prize win where a payment is needed to release the funds
     
  • An offer of employment where a payment to cover taxes or visa before you can travel is required
     
  • A once in a lifetime business proposition
     
  • A request from a high ranking government or bank official to release a significant amount of money, (normally an amount in millions),  for which you will be given a sizeable percentage when it has been released.
     
  • Some fraudsters claim the funds are in a Santander account.


Safety First

  • Do not respond to the communication, thousands are sent indiscriminately.
     
  •  If the offer looks to good to be true it probably is.
     
  •  Replying to an advance fee fraud will almost certainly result in you losing your money.


For further information visit the Metropolitan Police web-site.

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Trojans (Malware)

The term Trojan is derived from Greek mythology and the tale of the Trojan Horse. With computers and devices, a Trojan is a programme that is designed to conduct a hidden act. An example maybe fake anti-virus software that installs malware on your PC, laptop or portable device.

Malware is used by fraudsters to get information from your device or to read information that you input, such as passwords and log in details.

Warning Signs

It is difficult to tell if a Trojan is on your device. They are designed to carry out their illegal operations without interfering with the device's normal running.

  • Trojans could be almost any message/pop up and may contain pictures or documents and if opened, infect your device.
     
  • Your device can become infected by simply visiting a website that is hosting malware
     
  • You may be tricked into downloading malware by an eye-catching message like , "your debit card will be charged", "someone has sent you a private message"  or "you have won a prize."


Safety First

  • Use an anti-spam product to filter unsolicited e-mails
     
  • Treat unwanted e-mails with suspicion
     
  • Download and install Trusteer Rapport. It's FREE and can block and remove malware
     
  • If you anti-virus software detects a Trojan or any malware take remedial action immediately, follow instructions to remove it and run a full anti-virus scan afterwards to ensure that your machine is clean
     
  • If you have used any on-line banking services recently, contact your bank(s) so they can ensure that your account has not been compromised and take steps to protect your finances.
     

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