Are you cyber-savvy or a complete computer novice? Either way, we look at the main ways you can spot a bank scam.
There are perfectly legitimate reasons for your bank to contact you. However, there are people out there who will, unfortunately, take advantage of you by trying to access your bank details. Let’s take a look at how you can easily spot fraudsters and avoid being scammed.
Scammers could send you fake emails known as ‘phishing scams’ to get hold of your details. These are quite common – you’ll probably even have a few lurking in your junk folder!
Phishing emails might use the name of your bank to get you on side. Typically, the email will have a link they’ll ask you to open so you can log into your account, or perhaps a document to download.
If you click on these, you could be taken to a fake website which tracks your activity online or installs malware onto your computer; meaning the scammers could access your bank details.
How do I spot a phishing scam?
Even if the scammers are using your bank’s name and logo, there could still be a few tell-tale signs it’s a phishing scam.
The clue’s in the name
While real banks will address you by your name, scammers might address you as ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘Valued customer’, as they’ll be sending the email out to a large number of potential victims.
Look who’s talking
Another clue is the email address – take a look to see who sent the email. If the email address is a jumble of random digits and letters, you’re probably right to be suspicious. Also, banks won’t use web-based email addresses, such as Gmail or Yahoo.
Spell it right
Email scams often have obvious typos, so keep an eye out for these. Sometimes scammers will use odd spellings or use digits instead of letters to fool your spam filter, so take a good look to see if you can spot any mistakes.
What’s in the email?
Above all else, email scams will include a link or document which you’ll be encouraged to open. Real banks will never ask you to disclose sensitive information over an email, so you should avoid these at all costs.
“What’s a vishing scam?” we hear you ask. Well, much like phishing scams, they’re a type of scam used to obtain your personal information – but they target victims over the phone.
‘Vishing’ is a combination of ‘voice’ and ‘phishing’. Similar to phishing email scams, this kind of scam is carried out to gain your banking information, such as your card, PIN or any passwords.
Vishing scammers can often be convincing, as they’ll use what information they know about you to gain your trust.
How can I spot a vishing scam?
It can be quite hard to spot a vishing scam, but there are ways you can avoid being a victim. Firstly, a scammer on the phone will be rushing you to provide your details, which a real bank would never do. If they seem desperate to know your details, it’s probably a scam.
If you’re not sure, you could suggest phoning them back using an official number provided on the bank’s website – if they’re legitimately from the bank, they’ll have no issues with this.
It’s wise to never reveal any financial or personal information across the phone unless you’re positive you’re using an official phone number.
How do I report a scam?
If you suspect something’s not quite right, you should contact your bank. Even if you’ve spotted the scam, it’s still important to let your bank know, as this allows them to warn other customers. Next, report the scam to Action Fraud either online or phoning 0300 123 2040.
In this blog, we take a look at how you could make your password completely fool-proof…
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.