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Banking Scams. Is anybody safe?

Fraud and in particular, banking scams, seems to be becoming the ever more popular crime; with sophisticated and ever- changing technology, fraudsters keep up, adapting their methods and changing tactics. You increase your internet security, they call you up and pretend to be from the bank. Before you know it, they have hacked your bank account and made you (yet another) victim of fraud. Financial Fraud Action UK estimated that last year alone fraud costs consumers and businesses £755m – an incredible amount of money.

This is due to the rise in the number of fraud victims that have been contacted by way of telephone, or over the internet. Fraudsters involved in banking scams will imitate bank staff, police officers and other company representatives and persuade people to hand over personal details, or send money directly to a bank account owned by the fraudster. Financial Fraud Action UK has stated this is the most substantial area of loss and it also on the rise. Consumers need to be have increased diligence when conversing with people they believe to be a bank representative over the telephone or via email. Remember banks will not ask you to confirm your personal bank details, if this happens it’s probably a scam.

As a response to this ever growing banking scam crime, the government has created the Joint Task Force, compromising of police, government and banking representatives. The aims of the Joint Task Force is to:

  1. Identify the top ten organised gangs and fraudsters
  2. Increased shared intelligence between banks and law enforcement

3. Better training of banking staff to help identify fraud victims and weaknesses in security systems

4. Examine and evaluate the problems that fraud victims face when trying to get a refund from banks

5. A general raising of fraud awareness for consumers

6. To explore weaknesses in the banking systems to avoid potential exploitation

However the questions needs to be asked if this is enough to restore consumer confidence in the UK’s financial system.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Last year’s figures from Fraud Action indicate that security systems detected and prevented £1.76bn of fraud in the UK, this is the equivalent to £7 in every £10 of potential fraud being stopped. Hopefully the induction of the Joint Task Force will make our financial systems safer, but the fact remains personal security and vigilance needs to be paramount in our minds.