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Phishing scams

The dangers of being tricked by so-called phishing scams have returned to the fore following April’s news that police had swooped on a cyber gang that helped criminals use fraudulent messages to steal an estimated £1m from victims.  To provide a tangible example of the severity of these scams, Weatherbys Private Bank obtained a real life recorded scenario from one of their own private banking clients. This recording demonstrates the strategies used by these criminals and how we can better protect ourselves. The client, suspecting a scam, liaised with their Weatherbys Private Banker immediately and we were able to ensure their details and money were never at risk. We thank them for allowing us to share this recording with you. Click here to listen to the recording.

Online fraud is on the rise. It is estimated that more than 43 million UK adult internet users have encountered suspected scams online, with one in five people losing out on £1,000 or more.  When it comes to phishing, criminals are opportunists who pretend to be from official entities like banks or government departments to gain trust. They use familiar logos and branding to make their messages appear legitimate, and prey on the recipients’ emotions with convincing-sounding requests.  A frequent tactic is a message such as “We have detected fraudulent activity on your account”. Such a message stresses that urgent action is required, in the hope you click a link that takes you to a fake website, that will often look very similar to the website of your actual bank. 

Tips to help you stay safe:

  • Never share your one-time-passcode with anyone
  • All legitimate ads on Facebook will be marked with the word “Sponsored”
  • If you have even the slightest doubt about the legitimacy of an advert or pop-up, do not click on it because simply visiting a malicious web page could result in malware being downloaded onto your device
  • Complete regular anti-virus software checks across all your devices
  • Use strong and unique passwords for all your different logins
  • Set up 2-factor authentication, where available
  • Always verify payment detail changes received via email using another trusted means, such as a verified phone number
  • Ensure you log out after using any public device e.g. airport computers
  • Protect your well-earned holiday using the atol.org website to check your trip is financially protected by ATOL

Remember criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations, and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you will let your guard down for just a moment.

Stop and think. It could protect you and your money.

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