Avoid scams that pose as a financial institution Page Article A text asking you for details to “confirm” it’s you. Your financial institution may well text you – for instance to confirm a transaction on PC – but financial institution texts will not, ever, ask you to confirm details or for passwords in a text. financial institutions also won’t update their apps in this way. If you’re suspicious, don’t click links, and don’t call any numbers in the text. Instead, call your financial institution on its “normal” number – Google it if you don’t know – and check whether the text is from them. Fake fraud alert scam. The scheme tries to scare you into believing the scammers are representatives of your financial institution. The scammers will tell you that a fraudulent charge was made to your bank account through a digital instant payment app. Give you a deadline of 24 hours before your financial institution account erases itself. Many legitimate messages from your financial institution will be marked “urgent” – particularly those related to suspected fraud – but any message with a deadline should be treated with extreme suspicion. Cybercriminals have to work fast – their websites may be flagged, blocked, or closed down rapidly – and need you to click without thinking. financial institutions just want you to get in touch – they won’t usually set a deadline.Send you a link with a “new version” of your banking app. Your financial institution will not distribute apps in this way – instead, download from official app stores, and ensure yours is up to date. Use shortened URLs in an email. Cybercriminals use a variety of tricks to make a malicious web page appear more “real” in an email that’s supposedly from your financial institution – one of the most basic is URL-shortening services. Don’t ever click a shortened link, whether in an SMS or an email from your financial institution. Go to the financial institution’s website instead (the usual URL you use), or call them on an official number (i.e. not the one in the email). Send a courier to pick up your “faulty” financial institution card. The courier scam is a new one – your phone rings, it’s your financial institution, and they need to replace a faulty financial institution card. One of the new services they offer is courier replacement – and the financial institution tells you that a courier will arrive shortly to collect the faulty card. A courier and turns up, asks for your PIN as “confirmation” – and your money magically vanishes. If your card is faulty, a real financial institution will instruct you to destroy it, and send you a replacement by mail.Call your landline and “prove” it’s the financial institution by asking you to call back. A common new scam is a phone call from either “the police” or “your financial institution”, saying that fraudulent transactions have been detected on your card. The criminals will then “prove” their identity by “hanging up” and asking you to dial the real financial institution number – but they’ve actually just played a dial tone, and when you dial in, you’re talking to the same gang, who will then ask for credit card details and passwords.Email you at a new address without warning. If your financial institution suddenly contacts you at your work address. Financial institutions will not add new email addresses without your permission. If you want to be ultra-secure, create a special email address just for your financial institution, don’t publish it anywhere, or use it for anything else – that way, emails that appear to be from your financial institution probably ARE from your financial institution. As ever, stay cautious.Use an unsecured web page. If you’re on a “real” online banking page, it should display a symbol in your browser’s address bar to show it’s secure, such as a locked padlock or unbroken key symbol. If that symbol’s missing, be very, very wary. This is one reason why it’s best to browse an online banking page from your PC – on a smartphone browser, it can be more difficult to see which pages are secure.Address you as “Dear customer” or dear “email@example.com”. Financial institutions will usually address you with your name and title – i.e. Mr Smith, and often add another layer of security such as quoting the last four digits of your account number, to reassure you it’s a real email and not phishing. Any emails addressed to “Dear customer” or “Dear [email address]” are instantly suspicious – often automated spam sent out in vast quantities to snare the unwary.Send a personal message with a blank address field. If you receive a personal message from your financial institution, it should be addressed to you – not just in the message, but in the email header. Check that it’s addressed to your email address – if it’s blank, or addressed to “Customer List” or similar, be suspicious.Email you asking for your mother’s maiden name. When financial institutions get in touch – for instance in a case of suspected fraud – they may ask for a password or a secret number. What they won’t do is ask for a whole lot more information “to be on the safe side”. If you see a form asking for a large amount of information, close the link and phone your financial institution.Examples of how bank impersonation scams work:Bank Manager & Account Breach Scam:Initial Contact: Victim receives a call from someone claiming to be the bank manager or another high-ranking bank official.Fake Alert: The "manager" claims there's been suspicious activity on the victim's account and immediate action is required.Request for Verification: The victim is asked to confirm their account details, including passwords or PINs, so that the issue can be resolved.Bank Audit & Compensation Scam:Initial Contact: Victim is told they've been selected for a special audit or review, usually due to some past banking error in their favor.Promise of Compensation: The "bank manager" mentions the victim might be entitled to compensation or a refund.Payment Verification: To "verify" the compensation amount, the victim is instructed to transfer a small amount, but fraudsters use this to gain access to their account.Loan Approval & Advance Fee Scam:Initial Contact: The victim is informed that they've been pre-approved for a large loan, despite not applying for one.Upfront Payment: The "bank manager" says an upfront fee or deposit is needed to process the loan.Result: Once the fee is paid, the fraudster disappears, and no loan is provided.Bank Merger & Account Update Scam:Initial Contact: Victim receives communication that their bank is merging with another and updates are needed.Account Verification: The "bank manager" asks the victim to click on a link or provide account details to ensure the smooth transition of their account to the new system.Outcome: The link leads to a phishing site or the information given is used for unauthorized transactions.Bank Manager & Charity Event Scam:Initial Contact: The victim is told about a charity event or fundraiser the bank is supposedly supporting.Personal Appeal: The "bank manager" personally requests the victim to donate, emphasizing the importance or urgency of the cause.Payment Method: The victim is given specific, often unconventional, payment methods, like wiring money or using gift cards.To safeguard against these scams:Always verify the identity of anyone claiming to be from your bank.Avoid sharing personal or financial information over the phone or email.Use the contact details you have for your bank, not the ones provided in the unsolicited communication.Stay informed about common scams and educate your loved ones.