NatWest and RBS are warning legal firms to stay alert after a spate of vishing (voice-phishing) scams across the sector.
The scam, which has impacted consumers across the UK banking industry, often starts with a call purporting to be from the fraud department of your bank or credit card company.
However, the caller is a fraudster who uses urgent language to convince you that your bank account has been compromised, often claiming there are fraudulent transactions pending and compelling you to take immediate action to prevent these from being paid.
To gain your trust, the fraudster may encourage you to verify the call by phoning the telephone number printed on the back of your card, or another trusted number you have for the bank.
Even though you hang up your phone, the fraudster leaves their end of the line open so that when you dial the genuine number, the fraudster can intercept and re-answer the call, claiming to be the bank or credit card department.
Now that they have your trust they will ask you to transfer money to a new bank account that has been opened, to protect you from the alleged fraudulent transactions.
Alasdair MacFarlane, Head of Customer Security at RBS and NatWest said: “We would never ask a customer to transfer money to protect their account from fraud. If you receive a call of this nature, or any call you are suspicious of, you should end the conversation and call your bank on a trusted number.
“Use a different phone line to make the call and if that’s not possible, check that your phone line has not been held open by calling a family member of friend first of all. If a fraudster has intercepted the call, they will find it difficult to impersonate someone you know.”
Representatives from across the banking industry are working with Financial Fraud Action UK and telecommunication companies to reduce the amount of time a line can remain open, when it has not been disconnected at each end.
Steve Arundale, Head of Professionals at NatWest and RBS, said: “Customers of all UK banks have recently been targeted in this way.
“We’ve seen first hand the emotional and financial impact loosing hard earned money to scams such as this can have. That is why we want to make sure all members of the legal community are alert to this risk and can recognise the warning signs to prevent falling victim”.
If you are concerned that your business has been affected by vishing or other scams, contact Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime on 0300 123 2040.