‘Hang up straightaway, it’s a scam!’ HSBC issues alert as Britons hit by new fraud attempt
Martin Lewis shares tips for checking scams
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Fraudsters are targeting bank account customers and stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds of their hard earned cash by calling them and asking for their one time passcode (OTP). HSBC is warning all UK residents they should never reveal this to anyone – not even the bank – as it finds more than a third of successful fraudsters have adopted this method over the last six months.
As online banking becomes more and more commonplace, it’s not unusual for a customer to be asked for an OTP when using their card to authorise a transaction online – this is sent by text message to the customer’s mobile number and must be entered on the seller’s site to authenticate the transaction.
However, fraudsters are calling customers pretending to be from the bank, or a trusted organisation, and requesting a passcode, which they can then use to make a fraudulent transaction.
Around a third (37 percent) of total successful fraud attempts involved possible disclosure of OTPs in August with a total of £363,300 getting into the hands of scammers.
HSBC UK or any other bank will never ask for any banking passwords – so if someone does request this information – hang up immediately as it’s a scam.
David Callington, Head of Fraud at HSBC UK, said the bank is doing its best to stop these scammers but urged the general public to remain vigilant.
He said: “We’re aware that fraudsters are impersonating banks and trusted organisations and contacting customers regarding potential fraudulent transactions.
“Whilst we have an experienced team looking for signs of fraud, customers can help themselves by being aware of the tactics fraudsters use.
“HSBC UK or any other bank will never ask you to divulge any of your banking passwords. If someone calls you out of the blue and asks for your One Time Passcode, hang up straightaway, it’s a scam.”
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What scams do I need to look out for?
Fraudsters are attempting to gain people’s financial details by text and WhatsApp as well as over the phone.
Scams involving OTPs usually start out with a ‘smishing’ text from what appears to be a legitimate organisation, requesting the recipient to input their personal details online.
Currently there are ones from DPD and Royal Mail doing the rounds advising victims of a missed delivery and asking for a small charge to cover it.
Although this might seem like a nominal amount to the customer, the scammer’s aim is to get bank details where they can get their hands on much more.
Fraudsters upped their game during the COVID-19 pandemic with scams increasing by a third (33 percent) in the twelve months leading up to April 2021.
This adds up to £2.3billion in stolen money, consumer champion Which? said.
Criminals took advantage of people buying more items over the internet with a surge in texts pretending to be from courier and delivery firms asking recipients to pay an admin fee to retrieve a package.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been cautioning the public about a number of scams doing the rounds and is doing its best to let the public know that unfortunately, fraudsters are constantly trying to hoodwink people with a well known company name.
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One pensioner, an 86-year-old man, almost lost £4,000 when he received a call from someone claiming to be from HMRC saying that he owed this amount in debt, but thankfully, a relative stopped the man from making the payment.
Meanwhile, lots of social media users on Twitter have been warning others about a National Insurance scam with callers phoning people to tell them their number will be cancelled due to fraudulent activities.
The message remains that if in doubt, hang up and call the bank or HMRC back via the number on their website.
People can also report these scams by getting in touch with Action Fraud.
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