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Fraudsters love to play on people’s fear of losing money. Unfortunately, this is a tactic many people have fallen victim to. One of the most common scams to play on this fear of losing money is the “safe account” scam. This blog will look into what a safe account scam is, how to stay safe from these scams and what to do if you think you’re a victim.
What is a safe account scam?
A safe account scam is where a criminal convinces you that your money isn’t safe in the account it’s currently in, and that you need to urgently move it.
Here’s how it typically works:
You receive a call from someone pretending to be from your bank or the police. They’ll say that your account has been compromised or hacked in some way and that you need to act fast to protect it.
You’re encouraged to move all your money into a “safe account”. In reality, they’re giving you their fraudulent bank account details.
You’re told not to speak to others. Sometimes, the caller – who is pretending to be either bank staff or police – tells you that they’re investigating people at your bank. This is to deter you from talking to genuine bank staff, who are trained to spot and question potential victims of these sorts of scams.
How to stay safe from a “safe account” scam.
From beginning to end, the scam could be over in a matter of minutes. But by following a few pieces of advice, you can keep your money safe.
The golden rule is to remember that your bank will never ask you to move money somewhere else.
Just because a call sounds genuine, it doesn’t mean it is. For example, a fraudster may ask you “security questions” to sound official. If you answer their questions, they may simply be “phishing” or stealing your personal information.
Sometimes, the fraudster will text you using a number that looks genuine on your phone. But be aware that numbers can be spoofed and made to look like they’re from your regular bank.
No matter how real it looks or sounds, never move your money to a “safe account”.
Contact your bank using the number on the back of your card or a trusted website if you think you've compromised your credentials or you're worried about your money. They can block your account and secure your funds.
What to do if you think you’re a victim of fraud.
If you think you’re a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately. Your bank may be able to stop the money from leaving your account or – if it's already left – your bank may be able to contact the scammer's bank to freeze their account.
You should also contact Action Fraud to report the scam and they’ll give you a police crime reference number.
- Fraud Prevention Centre - for tips and advice on how to avoid fraud
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- How to keep your online banking passwords safe