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Staying safe online

Paystream News

Jayne Stirrup

Thursday 26th Apr, 2018

Online banking fraud is at an all-time high and the scams behind cyber-crime are increasing in their sophistication. Obviously there are some really basic steps everyone can take to prevent this from happening to them, such as never revealing a password or replying to emails asking to confirm personal details, but here are some of the more complex ones we've come across lately;

HMRC fraudulent messages

HMRC is warning customers of scam telephone calls and messages claiming to be from them which are asking for bank account details and personal information as a means to receive tax refunds or demand funds for any unpaid tax bills.

Although HMRC may sometimes send text messages or emails informing you of updates available on your online account, they will never ask for personal or financial information. Don't visit the website within the email or disclose any personal or payment information. If you get a text message claiming to be from HMRC offering a 'tax refund' in exchange for personal or financial details you shouldn't reply and don't open any links in the message. So that HMRC can track these scams they ask customer to forward details of the text message to 60599 (network charges apply) or email before deleting it.

Phishing email scams

Emails from your manager or close family asking you to transfer money urgently to bank details provided. They can even be written in a very similar in style to previous emails you've received, however the giveaway is the email address they come from as this is usually slightly different to the senders genuine one. Never just reply to an email or social media message asking for money no matter how genuine you think it is, text or call to confirm authenticity first.

Fake bank customer services calls

Banks often make marketing calls but should never ask for all your details or to confirm PIN numbers or passwords. If you receive a phone call from your bank and you want to check it's genuine never call back using the same phone they have called you on. Often fraudsters ask you to call back if you're unsure but will have blocked your line so outgoing calls go straight to them.

Malicious software

Malicious software (malware) is prevalent on on-line banking channels and can control what a user sees on screen and can take remote control of your computer. The presence of malware can be difficult to detect but typically can be spotted as a change in the log-on screen, prompts for additional information or new verification steps. If you do see any new or suspicious screens shutdown your internet session immediately and remove any Smartcards from their devices. Ensuring you have an up to date firewall and anti-virus software should also help prevent this.

If something is too good to be true, it usually is

Cyber criminals are getting better at what they do so we as individuals need to get better at how we protect ourselves. When you receive any unsolicited messages always ask yourself why you would be getting this and if the reason isn't obvious it should be the trigger to investigate further before replying or carrying out any transactions. Basically if something seems too good to be true it usually is and following our advice above can help you to stay safe.

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