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A major bank is warning of little-known ‘CEO fraud’ impersonation scams in which victims have lost almost £11,000 on average over the past year.
This is a less common phishing scam that Lloyds Bank has seen an increase in and results in the highest average loss amount for this type of scam.
Using this ruse, scammers pose as a senior official of a company and contact the victim (usually a staff member of the same company) to ask them to make an urgent payment.
Lloyds Bank has issued a warning over a little-known and fast-growing ‘CEO fraud’ scam that has seen customers lose almost £11,000 on average
This could be a bill they claim they need to pay, but can’t pay themselves.
Or they might ask the victim to purchase several gift cards for other staff members, under the guise of a “bonus.”
The warning comes as phishing scams overall have increased by 13 percent over the past year.
In 2023, victims of phishing scams lost more than £3,000 on average, compared to more than £3,400 during the previous year.
However, those who fell victim to ‘CEO fraud’ made the most money from phishing scammers, with victims losing an average of £10,918 to the scam last year.
Police or bank staff scam
Scams in which scammers pretend to be police officers or bank staff have become the most popular type of phishing scam, but victims of “CEO fraud” still lost more than double the amount lost by those deceived by police or bank impersonation scams.
Scams targeting police or bank staff are not only the fastest growing type of phishing scam, but data from Lloyds Bank shows they were also the most common.
Scammers who carry out bank phishing scams claim that the victim’s bank account is at risk and ask them to transfer their money to a “secure account.”
They may ask their victim to download an app to help move money securely, but the victim is actually giving a criminal access to the account.
When posing as a police officer, the scammer typically tells victims that they need their help with a police investigation involving their bank and then asks them to transfer the money to another account to help “catch” a criminal. criminal.
These scams have been successful for scammers because they are able to take advantage of the authority of these occupations and the trust that victims have in them.
While cases have increased, figures show the average amount lost to police and bank impersonation scams has fallen by 31 per cent over the past year, with victims losing an average of £5,318, compared to more than £7,700 the year before.
Other phishing scams to watch out for
Victims of other types of phishing scams lost more than £1,870 on average last year. This includes those that involve impersonating a friend or family member on WhatsApp, known as ‘Hi Mom’ scams.
Another common trick of scammers is to impersonate retail giant Amazon, knowing that many consumers shop online regularly.
Victims will be contacted and informed that there is a problem with their Amazon account, or that they are owed a refund, and then asked to fill out a form, click on a link, or download some software; Ultimately, these are all ways scammers can gain access. the victim’s personal data.
Scammers are becoming more advanced with their impersonations and no longer rely solely on impersonating big, well-known brands.
During 2023, Lloyds Bank also received reports of scammers posing as tradesmen such as plumbers and gardeners.
How to avoid falling into an identity theft trap
Be wary of calls or texts you receive from numbers or email addresses that are not already stored in your contacts, even if they appear to be from someone you know.
Your bank, the police or any genuine organization or company will never ask you to move money or provide your card details, under any circumstances; always remember it.
They also won’t ask you to download something to your computer or other device. If in doubt, hang up and call to check using a trusted number, not one given to you over the phone.
Be wary if you are contacted and asked to fill out an online form to process a refund. Contact the organization using the information you have searched elsewhere and not the information provided on any form, so you can check if the request is real.
Do not download any software to your computer, tablet, or phone if you have been told to do so by a cold caller. This often comes under the guise of someone from ‘Microsoft’ saying they are helping fix a problem or security issue with your computer, but scammers can also pose as Amazon, utility companies or banks.
The bottom line is to always double check and don’t rush into anything: if a Whatsapp message or text message claims to be from someone you know, contact that person in a different way to confirm that they really are who they say they are.
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