Online banking warning: The five scams most people fall for - 'These are the ones to watch!'

Scammers' tactics will continue to evolve, but here is advice on what to look out for

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People are being warned to watch out for bank scams in 2023, whether they are being offered an online “bargain” or a “get rich quick” scheme.

Jenny Ross, Which? Money editor, said: “Scammers are relentless when it comes to wanting our personal information and ultimately our money.

“And while their tactics will no doubt continue to evolve, we think these scams are the main ones to watch out for.

“Banks will never ask you for personal information, nor will they try to hurry you into making a decision. If this happens to you – whether by text, email or over the phone, step back and think about what they’re asking. If it looks too good to be true, it usually is.”

Here are some scams Which? is warning people to look out for in 2023:

1. Money mule requests

Money mule requests happen when people, either knowingly or unwittingly, allow a criminal to use their bank account to move stolen money.

These will often appear on social media posts or emails.

Tactics employed include sending funds “in error” which people are asked to return to a different bank account, asking people to apply for credit or bank cards on behalf of someone else, or convincing people to move money sent to their account (taking a cut) as a “favour”.

Offences for this kind of scam can result in up to 14 years imprisonment, Which? said.

2. Card theft

Which? is warning consumers to remain vigilant by keeping a close eye on financial accounts and personal credit reports, notifying banks of anything unusual immediately.

Most banks will offer free balance and payment text or email alerts. Where possible, use ATMs located inside bank branches as these are less likely to have been tampered with, the consumer group said.

3. Fake apps that target bank accounts

Which? said people should read reviews of apps and developers as these might give a clue as to their legitimacy.

4. Spoof calls or texts

A common technique deployed by fraudsters is to imitate legitimate companies, often banks.

Scammers may also make automated calls with pre-recorded messages inviting people to press numbers on the keypad to speak to them about an issue, such as a suspect payment.

Criminal gangs will often have personal details about victims already, making the scam more believable. Fake texts are also a way of enticing people to click on links that can at first appear legitimate.

Which? said people should never simply trust the caller ID that comes up on a call. Banks will never ask for personal information to be handed over on the phone. If there are concerns about the authenticity of a message, contact your bank or card issuer on a trusted method.

5. Online purchase scams

Criminal gangs pay for fake or misleading adverts online in a bid to lure unsuspecting victims in, often by offering low prices for high-value items, such as mobile phones or laptops.

Warning signs of a fake website may include spelling and grammatical mistakes and a lack of contact details.

Which? suggested people should stick to trusted retailers and remember that paying via bank transfer may offer less protection than paying by card.