Police warning after fraudsters dupe shop owner out of £140k

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Police warning after fraudsters dupe shop owner out of £140k

POLICE are urging people to be extra vigilant after highly skilled fraudsters duped a Lancashire business woman out of £140k.

Fraudsters contacted the shop owner a number of times last month and conned her into handing over the business’ account details. They then used the details to impersonate her on internet banking systems making a number of transactions.

An investigation is underway and police have issued advice to help both business owners and members of the public to avoid falling victim to cyber fraudsters.

PC Mark Aldridge from Lancashire Constabulary’s Economic Crime Unit said: “This increasingly common method of fraud – known as vishing – has been used in as many as 40 other frauds nationally, with losses possibly running into millions of pounds.

“It is a scam whereby highly skilled fraudsters contact business owners and account managers and con them into unwittingly revealing their business account details. These offenders display a high degree of competence and a thorough knowledge of online banking and account management systems, which can make them appear very genuine and legitimate.

“It can occur over a number of weeks until the fraudsters eventually gather enough details to take over control of the account and make transactions on it. From there money transfers occur via numerous accounts, some of which are located overseas in places such as the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

“This fraud technique is currently being investigated by both banking industry security departments – who have issued security alerts to their customers and national law enforcement agencies who are making businesses aware via the CIFAS fraud prevention service and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau networks.”

Police are advising local businesses and account managers of the need to maintain close control over all their personal and business banking details and officers have issued the following advice to help people avoid falling victim;

  • Don’t accept any unsolicited calls from any bank enquiring about your account details and don’t disclose any details of account or sort codes, usernames or passwords to anyone. A bank will not ask you for your private secure username and PIN – that is your personal information.
  • A common technique is for the fraudster to ask for only part of the username or password and try to convince you that you are not giving it all away. Please think! Some systems only require certain numbers/letters to access accounts and it may be these they are actually asking for. If you are contacted over a number of occasions the fraudster may have recorded the part numbers you give them on each occasion and then add to those numbers after other calls.
  • Do not use your bank card reader or keypad to give the fraudster security numbers. They may already have access to your account and the only bit they don’t have is your bank card, used to generate a security code through the reader/keypad.
  • Make sure you know who you are talking to. Close the call and contact your bank or account manager on the numbers you have for them. Do this from a different line or mobile phone to stop the fraudster holding your line open and speaking to you pretending to be your bank. Don’t ring back on any numbers the unknown caller gives you. Ring them back on numbers you already have and ask to speak to your named account managers.
  • If a caller asks you to log onto a certain website and says they will send you the link, do not do this unless absolutely certain you know who you are speaking to. The website link may download some software into your computer which the fraudsters will use to attack your accounts.
  • Remember if you give away your username/password or PIN numbers and a fraudster empties your bank account, your bank may not reimburse your loss as you may be in breach of your account contract with them by giving someone else access.

People who believe they may have been victims or have been targeted can visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.



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