Fraudsters are becoming increasingly prevalent in the online banking sector, with new figures showing a 71% yearly increase in online fraud for the first half of the year, amounting to £29.3m in added costs.
In recent years, banks have become progressively anxious over the issue of fraud, bringing out more and more checks, most recently the introduction of ësecurity keysí, designed to act as an ëextra layer of protectioní requiring customers to provide their PIN number and unique security key device in order to access their funds.
Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), a quasi-regulatory organisation, are behind the findings which also reveal that a total 174.5m was lost via bank cards as a result of scam telephone and posted purchases as well as fraudulent online activity.
FFA UK noted that fraudsters commonly pose as banks and call on unwitting customers to type their password & personal freedom. They function furtively, generally deciphering whether a bank customer has a qualm, before swooping in and masquerading as bankís online staff. The body also declared that business accounts were being commonly pursued due to the high potential returns for criminals.
Fraudsters are also donning telephones and sending out cold calls to houses all over the UK posing as bank executives and thus either getting hold of peopleís PIN numbers or acquiring their online banking information and using this to move funds around at their discretion, or lack thereof.
Moreover, these fraudsters are audacious enough to impersonate bankís anti-fraud teams via a technique dubbed ëvishingí, whereby impostors are able to breach bankís security software and turn their system on its head. Viruses are also circulating the internet which enable fraudsters access to your financial information.
A spokesman for Financial Fraud Action UK said: "The technology banks have been introducing over the last three years has helped fight against online fraud, but unfortunately criminals are beating the security systems simply through pressuring people to give away their passwords."
Detective Chief Inspector Perry Stokes, head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPU), which targets fraud on behalf of the banking industry, said: "Be very suspicious of phone calls, texts or emails which come out of the blue asking for personal or financial details, regardless of who they claim to represent.
"Be aware of the warning signs: your bank will never ask you for your four-digit PIN, to transfer or withdraw money, or to give your card to a courier."
This need for this viewpoint to be impressed on the wider public is apparent, and no saver ought to be dishing out their password or any personal financial details, to anyone prompting them to do so. Savers are also urged to learn their PIN numbers and passwords off by heart, and certainly not save them in a document on your computer or keep them alongside your personal finance records. Do not put your faith in fanciful job offers or ëquick cashí adverts, which will most likely be fake; research your correspondent thoroughly before proceeding and be cautious.
Any unseemly correspondent purporting to be your bank should be met with utter apathy, and then swiftly followed by immediate communication with your lender to smooth out any concerns you might have.
To finish on a plus note, concerns surrounding the widespread usage of contactless cards have been mollified somewhat by the FFA UKís discovery that 0.007% of gross contactless expenditure was fraud related, amounting to £51, 000 lost to fraudsters. Although any money lost unjustly is nothing to celebrate, worries over the overt format of contactless cards can be pacified to a certain extent given the uncostly upshot.