Protect Your Private Information

Customers urged to be wary of scam emails and telephone calls.

While online banking can be helpful for its speed and convenience, it does also pave the way for fraudsters trying to access private information.

‘Phishing’ is the criminal practice of tricking people to part with personal details for the purpose of financial reward.  Criminals send emails encouraging the recipient to visit a fraudulent website, invest money and reveal confidential details such as addresses and passwords.

Some scam emails also contain attachments which, if opened, can be a common source of computer viruses.  The same goes for emails or weblinks which try to encourage people to download and install free software, which may contain hidden malicious content.

A small number of customers have recently informed us that they have received a phishing email pertaining to be from the West Brom.  Unfortunately it is extremely difficult for financial institutions to prevent fraudsters using their identities in this way, so it is important that customers remain vigilant and only open emails from a trusted source.

Other tips for staying safe include:

  • Beware of emails asking you to state your whole password or personal bank details, including your PIN number.  The West Brom will NEVER ask for such information in an email
  • Never support a request from a provider to carry out a ‘test transaction’ on your account
  • A bank, building society or the police will never instruct you to transfer money to a new account, electronically or otherwise.

If you are unsure or concerned about an email that appears to be from the West Brom please contact us.

Unwanted calls

A growing trend is for criminals to target victims over the telephone, hence the phrase voice phishing or ‘vishing’.  Scammers will make bogus calls, often posing as the police or a representative from a bank or building society in order to make their approaches sound credible.

According to Financial Fraud Action UK, vishing cost customers £24m last year.  The Financial Ombudsman Service believes people over the age of 55 are most at risk and four times more likely to be caught out by a vishing scam.

A typical approach is for the caller to claim there has been fraud on a customer’s account and panic them into divulging security information or transferring money into a so-called ‘safe account’.

Others will attempt the ‘no hang-up scam’ whereby the victim is told to call their bank immediately to resolve the issue.  Although the call appears to terminate, the fraudster actually remains on the line to get the information they want.

If you feel a call you have received is suspicious, hang up and then wait five minutes to clear the line.  Better still, use a different phone line, for example a mobile, to call your bank or building society and report the fraud.

Need more information?

The following websites contain useful information to help you stay safe and secure and protect your identity:

www.financialfraudaction.org,uk

www.getsafeonline.org

www.antiphishing.org

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