News Column

Keep yourself safe from financial fraud

August 5, 2014

INDUSTRY VIEW An email from your bank lands in your inbox. Suspicious? Not necessarily. But if you're asked to verify your account or provide personal details, it's likely to be a scam.

Barclays customer Clare Jones (not her real name) was tricked into sharing her online banking login details when she received an email stating her account had been blocked. The email invited Clare to click on the link and reactivate her account. Having just bought a car, Clare thought this could be connected, so followed the instructions. Fraudsters used Clare's details to take out a £12,000 loan and make £10,000 in fraudulent transactions.

Attacks like these are believed to have affected more than a million people in the UK from 2012-13, according to internet security provider Kaspersky. Emails can also contain computer viruses that can be installed without the user realising, enabling fraudsters to obtain bank login details and other data. With bogus emails and sites designed to look legitimate, it's easy to see how so many customers are convinced they're real.

And it's not just online that fraudsters are operating. There has been a rise in cold callers posing as bank staff or police, claiming there is a problem with customers' cards or accounts. Despite the sophistication of some scams, banks are doing all they can to fight fraud. Barclays, for example, has teamed up with Get Safe Online, the government's online security adviser, to help raise awareness of fraud.

Seven-step safety guide 1 Protect your computer with the latest security software and update regularly 2 Only visit your bank's online banking site from a trusted bookmark or by typing the name into your browser 3 Keep your PINs, passwords and bankcard details to yourself - don't share them with anyone who phones, emails or calls at your door 4 Be wary of opening attachments in emails that you're not expecting or are unsure about - if in doubt, delete the email 5 Strengthen your passwords with letters, numbers and symbols and don't write them down 6 Check statements regularly and tell your bank about any odd activity 7 Keep your bank updated with your latest contact numbers so they can get in touch if they identify suspicious transactions Need more help staying safe online? Barclays has 7,000 Digital Eagles in branch to help everyone - even if you don't bank with them. There is also a range of online how-to videos, with hints and tips, at digitaleagles To find out what else you can do to protect yourself from fraud, visit Your bank may contact you from time to time with useful advice and information about products and services, but bear in mind it will….

Never email you a link that takes you straight to the online banking login page ? Never email you asking you to verify your account details ? Never email or call to ask for PINs, authorisation codes or passwords ? Never email or call or visit you at home to ask you to hand over your card or cash ? Never email or call to ask you to move money to a new account

For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel

Source: City A.M. (UK)

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