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Making the most of the Internet

New bank account scam to beware of

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New bank account scam to beware of

Postby Kay » Thu 21 Apr 2016 07:33 GMT

Ho hum, sometimes it seems as though there's a new one every day. In this one, criminals are able to compromise email accounts and request payments to their own bank accounts instead of the account of the true payee.

For example, if a tradesman has done work for you or if you have purchased something and you are therefore due to pay (so you're expecting a bill) - if you then receive an email which purports to be from them, you might quite happily pay into the bank account suggested. Then you later discover that you've paid a fraudster rather than the intended recipient.

See here for more details.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36086055
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Re: New bank account scam to beware of

Postby ruggie » Thu 21 Apr 2016 15:45 GMT

Hm-m-m-m. A couple of times recently I've paid by using online banking to set up a transfer.This is a two-step process: first I have to create a new payee account and wait 24 hours for it to be verified before I can specify a transaction. I hope the verification includes checking that the account name matches what I specified - I've been caught once when the traditional bank processing system did no more than verify that the account number existed...
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Re: New bank account scam to beware of

Postby Kay » Thu 21 Apr 2016 16:00 GMT

I'm not sure, Mike. The best way to avoid getting scammed is if you get anything like this, ie change of payee details, then get in touch with the real payee by phone or some other means. This scam relies on the scammer hacking the payee's email account. It works well because they often monitor the hacked account for email exchanges which enable them to time their scam perfectly. It's the perfect timing that enables them to catch people out so easily. There was something about it on Radio 4 this afternoon. I think the programme was called "You and Yours". Can you get that via the Internet in France?
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Re: New bank account scam to beware of

Postby Kay » Thu 21 Apr 2016 16:05 GMT

PS: When you say you "were caught", do you mean you were scammed?
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Re: New bank account scam to beware of

Postby Kay » Fri 22 Apr 2016 05:53 GMT

The Beeb also has a page to help people avoid scams. It includes a little quiz to see how clued up you are about scams. I got 9/9 correct, which didn't really surprise me.

However, it's all very well getting all the questions right when you know you're being tested on your knowledge of scams. It's probably quite a different matter if you're going about your everyday life and possibly in a hurry or maybe not completely focusing on what you're doing. In any case, it's seemed like a very simple quiz.

You can read it here and try the quiz.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zxq8frd?
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Re: New bank account scam to beware of

Postby ruggie » Fri 22 Apr 2016 13:09 GMT

No, I wasn't scammed. I mis-typed the a/c number. Luckily my bank was able to back out the payment. I've heard of the unintended recipient refusing to do so in some cases...
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Re: New bank account scam to beware of

Postby JJ » Mon 25 Jul 2016 13:12 GMT

A customer of a client I consult for was recently scammed in a similar way and I was asked to investigate. My client advertised some second-hand equipment either on their website or ebay, and it was sold for a four-figure sum to a broker in France, with an Orange.fr (free with broadband) mailbox (ie. not a serious business service at all). Client sent a pro-format invoice and buyer made payment via IBAN, only client never received it. After some days it transpired that the payment details on the buyer's copy of the pro-format bore no relation to the details on the original, and frankly the buyer should have been suspicious that the account name was so different from the client's, but they didn't. I was forwarded a copy and it can be seen from inconsistent artefacts round the payment details that the PDF was altered in Photoshop or similar. Shortly after that the buyer lost access to their mailbox altogether.

The matter is now in the hands of the French and UK police who will presumably advice us in about 2036 that the investigation has been put on hold. It's clear that the perps had been monitoring the buyer's mailbox for such an opportunity. The take-home message is:

(1) strong passwords (no, sticking a ...2 or the current year on the end of your football team's name isn't strong, put two long-ish words picked by poking your finger at a random page of a book together with the last 4-6 digits of your first home phone number in the middle and you're getting there)

(2) use two-factor authentication (most big mail services offer it) so that accessing your mailbox from a new devices requires entering a code sent to your phone, which obviously some scammer in Korea or Khazakstan doesn't have access to

(3) look out for the unusual or inconsistent - if you're paying London Electronics Ltd but the account name is Charlotte Ltd it doesn't cost anything to enquire whether that's for real - only don't do it from the same email or even the same medium

(4) don't use free email services for business. You're in a much better position to protect and recover the account with a business service.
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Re: New bank account scam to beware of

Postby Kay » Mon 25 Jul 2016 13:19 GMT

Good advice, JJ. Many thanks.

As for not using free email services for business, it also looks so horribly unprofessional!
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Re: New bank account scam to beware of

Postby JJ » Mon 25 Jul 2016 13:24 GMT

By far the least professional though has to be when you see an advert or business card or van livery thus:

West London Plumbing
web: www.westlondonplumbing.co.uk
email: westlonplumb@aol.com
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