Savers beware, fraudsters are targeting online bank users with ISAs that are not what they seem.
The improvement in technology in recent years has been hugely valuable to the modern saver in most instances. The introduction of online banking has improved the efficiency, speed and ease of banking. Whilst the transition to a mainly digital banking experience has been successful, it has opened the doors for increased fraudulent activity with a level of sophistication that has never been seen before.
As banks become more entrenched in the digital world, so do the fraudsters that make a living from preying on unsuspecting bank users. Gone are the days of fraudulent cheques and signatures, fraudsters are now disguising themselves as the banks themselves. It is likely that you are already aware that this happens. For many years, fraudsters have attempted to call bank customers to try to gain access to their personal information and bank details, but it seems that people have become wiser to this.
The future of bank fraud
With the greater prominence of online banking, the fraudsters have begun to create exact replica websites and emails that offer attractive rates of interest. These fake websites and emails are branded to look identical to the industry’s leading names. The links on the webpages and emails go through to genuine pages on the websites of the banks which make them difficult to identify. Documents that outline the terms of the offered ISA/saving accounts including early withdrawal penalties and the dates interest would be paid make the fraudsters seem legitimate.
The only difference between the application process from one of the fake websites is that you will likely never see your cash again. Of course, the fraudsters’ firms are not regulated which means that none of the money that you send to them is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) which usually acts as a safety net for savers.
The fraudulent activity surrounding the banking industry has always been an issue. Now more than ever, bank users need to be vigilant to protect their money.
How to avoid bank scams
Due to the increase of bank scams, we have put together a list of the tell-tale signs of a bank scam. Please note that we will not be held liable for any loss you incur from falling foul of scams.
- Make sure you inspect the URL of any website that you are trusting with your data or personal information.
- Check the email address. Often scammers will try to get an email address close to that of a real bank but with numbers or characters added.
- Read the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Banking and online account scams page to learn more about them here.
- When opening an email from a real bank, you will notice that banks tend to use your first name. If they use the phrases Sir/Madam or valued customer, it is likely that it is a scam.
- Spelling errors are generally a sign of a scam.
- Try to avoid clicking links. If you think a deal from a website or email is genuine, log into the main website from another browser to make sure you have a message (especially if the message involves you inputting any details or moving money somewhere).
- Check FCA’s list of cloned/fraudulent firms here.
What to do if you think you have spotted a bank scam
If you think that you have been targeted by a bank scam, it is very important to report it. Firstly, you should contact your bank to let them know. This should give them a chance to inform other customers.
If you think that you have become a victim of a bank scam or have handed personal information to a website or email you think might be disingenuous, it is very important to inform your bank in order to stop any payments or transfers.
Contact Bira Bank
Bira Bank has been impersonated by fraudsters in the past and making sure our customers are safe from these scams is a priority for us. If you are unsure as to whether an email, website or any other communications from Bira Bank is legitimate, contact us on 0121 446 6688 and David or Frank will be able to help you. If you are interested in saving your money with Bira Bank, use the Bira Bank savings page to find out more.