Recent figures show that the amount of money illegally defrauded by criminals via bank transfers has increased by 40% compared to the same period last year.
Scams often occur when an individual is persuaded to transfer money from one bank account to another. Normally this occurs either:
- By telephone, with the fraudster posing as a trusted third party and using social engineering to gain personal/financial information or attempting to convince the victim to move money (vishing); or
- When the fraudster intercepts and then hijacks email traffic between two parties (man-in-the-middle attack). The fraudster will then usually facilitate the transfer of money to his or her account (when the victim thinks it is paying the legitimate original email contact) or encourages the victim to log onto a fake website which then asks the victim to enter personal/financial data or places malware onto the victim’s computer (phishing)
When the fraudster receives a sum of money, this is quickly transferred to third party beneficiary accounts and often across multiple jurisdictions.
Once defrauded, victims need to think fast and act quickly. Listed below is our ten-step guide to practical steps that you should take immediately on discovery of any suspect transactions:
- Contact your bank immediately to inform it of what has happened, to confirm the bank account number to which the monies have been sent and to request that an indemnity be issued to the beneficiary account via ‘Share Point’. Your bank may be able to stop the transaction from going ahead or recover funds direct from the fraudster’s account
- Contact the beneficiary bank account where your money was sent and let it know the account number and any further relevant information about the scam
- Contact experienced legal representatives for urgent legal advice and who can assist in freezing bank accounts via injunctive relief and trace funds through the civil courts, by issuing an application(s) for a Norwich Pharmacal Order(s)
- Report the crime to the police through Action Fraud (0300 123 2040)
- Where litigation is contemplated or is a possibility, it is essential that the relevant documentation is preserved and that any electronic (and other) routine document destruction is stopped. Keep a record of any conversation/correspondence you/employees may have had with the fraudsters while the details are fresh in your mind
- Contact your insurer to see if you have relevant policy cover for loss as a result of fraud
- If funds have been taken from a company account, undertake a thorough internal review of policy and practice, and investigate any employees who may have been involved with the transfer of funds
- Major UK banks have signed up to a code called ‘Contingent Reimbursement Model’ (CRM) to better protect victims of scams. All UK personal customers and in-scope business customers who have sent money via an APP (e.g. faster payments, Chaps) will be fully reimbursed if they are the victim of an APP scam and have met the required level of care. Seek further information from your bank and look to recover any loss through CRM
- In certain circumstances, make a formal complaint to your bank/escalate your complaint to the financial ombudsman service
- To prevent recurrence, obtain relevant fraud training via your bank and enforce best practice in your domestic/business environment