Fraud Awareness – please be aware of this scam!
Over the weekend Sgt Jon Hiron was targeted by a phishing scam that arrived in his text message inbox on his mobile phone.
Having been out on a long distance cycle ride Jon received a notification purporting to be from ‘Barclays Bank’. The message claimed that a transaction had been made to a value of £1976 – quite alarmingly – at the ‘Apple Online Store’. It requested contact if this transaction was not made by himself.
The text message (shown in the picture) is really very convincing and actually came through on a chain of other legitimate Barclays Bank text messages – which seemed to corroborate its legitimacy.
On this basis, Jon made the call to the number shown – an 0330 number.
He spoke to a lady who then reassured him that she would close down the transaction, and sent him through some authentication software, asking him to enter codes that she generated for him and some personal information.
Jon became wary when it appeared to him that he was being asked to complete a form that was asking him to transfer a sum of £45,000 out of his account.
When he challenged this the female voice tried to reassure him that everything was fine and that it just ‘looked like that’.
When Jon then said that he would visit his local branch in person, the caller hastily terminated the call, hanging up.
Jon subsequently checked his account and it became clear that the offender had set up a loan for £50,000 in Jon’s name, and the funds had been credited to his bank account.
The contact was apparently attempting to extract those funds and transfer them elsewhere.
Sgt Hiron has said:
“I’m not a gullible guy – I’ve seen all sorts of things and I have years of service dealing with criminals. The fact that the text message arrived apparently from Barclays in exactly the same chain of previously legitimate messages was really quite convincing – I didn’t question that at all.
When I spoke to the lady at the ‘call centre’ things became increasingly suspicious, until eventually I’d had enough and challenged what was going on.
She abruptly ended the call and I knew it was wrong. I was probably only moments away from crediting £45,000 to someone.
If this can happen to me – it can happen to anyone.”
Barclays Bank has been made aware of this incident and they are certainly not the only bank affected by the phenomenon of phishing fraud.
If you receive a message of this nature, don’t call the number in the text message, call your bank from the telephone number you usually use or visit a branch in person.
If the situation is legitimate, they will have a record of it. Never give out your password, safeword or pin number to anyone purporting to be from your bank.
For more information on Phishing Fraud, visit Action Fraud: