Garioch resident's safe account scam warning after almost being duped
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Aberdeenshire's Trading Standards team have shared the recent case of a 'safe account' fraud in an effort to better warn local residents of the scam.
A Garioch area resident recently reported to Trading Standards that he’d recently received a text from ‘ Royal Mail’ advising him that they had tried to deliver a package to his address, had been unsuccessful and would try again but that this would generate a surcharge.
To receive the package, the resident thought nothing more about it, clicked on the hyperlink in the text and paid the surcharge from his bank account.
Next day, he was called at home by the fraud department of ‘his bank’. The resident noted that there was no Caller ID on his phone display and when he queried this, the caller advised that they didn’t give out contact numbers. The caller then advised that there had been a hacking attempt on his bank account.
The caller also read out some details of the attempted transactions, which sounded plausible.
The caller alleged that the hackers were still trying to access the resident’s bank account.
The caller then advised the resident to log into his online banking account and transfer his savings into another account which had been set up in his name.
The caller passed details of this account to the resident and advised him that it would not appear on his screen for about 24 hours as it was a new account and that he would also receive an e-mail with log on information.
Alarmed by what he’d been told, the resident logged onto his existing account and did as he was instructed, transferring £5000 into a new account whose details the caller provided. However, after this was complete, the resident had second thoughts, so called his bank who advised him that it was a scam. The bank is now investigating the matter.
And, in truth, it was a scam.
This is a classic text scam coupled with a ‘safe account’ scam (though the words safe account were never used by the caller) with a few twists.
These twists come in the form of-
• It appears that the preceding ‘Royal Mail text was a scam designed solely to obtain details of the resident’s bank account from the surcharge payment,
• The caller advising the resident that the hackers were stilling trying to access his account, which was true but the caller was the hacker/scammer,
• The caller telling the resident that the attempts were still going on was solely designed to ‘up the ante’ (fear factor) should the resident have any reservations about following instructions immediately,
• The caller providing details of the attempted hacking (which were plausible as the caller had obtained the bank account details via the text scam),
• The caller tricking the resident into making the transactions, instead of obtaining log in information from the resident and having an accomplice do it,
• The mention of the delay on the safe account details showing up on the resident’s screen was not due to it being a new account; in fact , it would never happen as it was the scammer’s account , the ‘delay’ was simply designed to hide this. Likewise, no e-mail with log in information would have materialised.
Some points to consider-
• If Royal Mail have already tried to deliver a package, there will not be surcharges for further attempts but it’s more likely that you’ll receive a notice through your letterbox clearly marked Royal Mail asking you to call them to re-arrange delivery on a particular day or to collect the package from the local Post Office/sorting office,
• If you receive such a text, please don’t click on the hyperlink as it may be a scam. Instead, forward the text if you can to the text number 7726 so your telephony provider can assess it for being a scam,
• No bank will call a customer and ask them to transfer funds from one account to another as a result of suspicious activity on the account . They may ask you to take another form of action, such as reviewing the transactions, but not transferring money to a new account,
• If you do receive such a phone call, hang up. It’s undoubtedly a scam,
• Check the phone line has a dial tone (to be sure that the scammer has also hung up), then call your bank on a number from their webpage or your bank statement or using the Stop Scams phone number ‘159’ (which will put you through to your bank if they are a part of that scheme) and report the scam attempt,
• If you don’t hear a dial tone, wait a while longer till you do or use a different phone,
• Report the matter to Police Scotland (as it’s an attempted fraud) and/or to your local Trading Standards office.