Fraud. Are You Financially Prepared?

McDade Roberts put client financial security first. For this reason we sent Cat who works in the Fulwood office on a fraud prevention course so that she could update our team with best practice. Here is what she learnt that may help you too.

The course was run by NatWest Bank at the Bolton Stadium and proved very informative. Cat learnt that there are lots of different ways that scammers are working i.e. email, telephone and even SMS text messages. The real problem seems to currently be occurring from emails and text messages as they can even intersect ongoing conversations, so it can look like you are replying to the original messages.

The scammers have various ways of phishing for information but one case study highlighted was outside a café where a person clicked ‘Like’ on social media to receive a free coffee or a discount. By doing this, the scammer logged into the profile of the person and got his/her name, date of birth, parents’ names (i.e. mother’s maiden name) etc. most of which you provide your bank with. All this information was collated on the person which could potentially then be used without any knowledge or awareness.

Another vulnerable situation is logging into free Wi-Fi connections and public connections and be sure you know it is a secure network. Online banking is a very convenient technology for example, but not if others can see what you are doing.

One of the most recent scams highlighted was when you receive an email from a Director suggesting that he/she hasn’t got time or the details to make a transaction (e.g. pay an Invoice/person) and can you do this on his/her behalf. First of all ‘STOP’ why would the Director email you when he/she is sat upstairs? This just wouldn’t happen, he/she would ring you or ask you to your face. Isn’t that why they pay you to process the Invoice payments? Luckily at McDade Roberts we only have a select number of people who can/would make these sort of transactions but there are other larger companies who may have several members of staff who could make these transactions without remembering to ‘STOP’.

Another scam to be aware of is if you receive an email from a supplier or even a client informing you of a change of address and bank details. Although this may be genuine, STOP, ring the supplier or client from the details you have, or check the details on their website, don’t take the details given as definite from an email, letter or even a phone call unless you are 100% sure this is genuine. Make sure you second guess unusual activity to be sure. The scammers can easily pick up a change of address from a notice outside the building, such as ‘We have moved’.

Please therefore ‘STOP‘ and take 5: -

  1. Never disclose security details, such as your PIN, full banking password or Smartcard details. Banks and other trusteed organisations will never ask you for these details.
  2. Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic. Just because someone knows your basic details (name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine.
  3. Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a bank or organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot; they would never ask you to transfer money into another account for fraud reasons. So Stop!
  4. Listen to your instincts. If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true – it usually is.
  5. Stay in control. Have the confidence to reuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. It is OK to stop the conversation if you do not feel in control – hang up if this is a telephone conversation. The caller will understand if it is genuine.

You can download Trusteer Rapport free of charge on your home or personal computer which is a security software and works as an additional layer of security to anti-virus software. It is designed to protect confidential data, such as account credentials, from being stolen by malicious software (malware) and via phishing.

Please report any suspicious activity immediately.

We hope this information is a good reminder to be vigilant to financial scams, just as we are at McDade Roberts Accountants.