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Criminals switch tactics and now target foreign bank customers

14th November 2016

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s (NFIB) Proactive Intelligence Team has spoken to a convicted fraudster who said that organised crime groups (OCG’s) are now targeting foreign banking customers in preference over UK ones.

According to a convicted fraudster OCG’s are moving towards foreign banks because the UK banking institutions and partners have made such a huge impact on criminals with their advertising campaigns to ensure customers become more cautious.

Economic criminals and money launderers enjoy taking over bank accounts and they do this in two main ways; by posing as a genuine customer, gaining control of an account to make unauthorised transactions or courier crime, when a fraudster tricks you into handing over your bank cards and PIN to a courier on your door step.

Targeting foreign bank customers

“There are organised crime groups (OCG’s) targeting public and corporate foreign bank customers. This is because the good prevention advice by UK banks and partners has created obstacles, although the OCG’s will still seek to move the money back to the UK so they can cash out. More advertising would stop fraud”.

The fraudster explained they are changing their own methods and contacting customers of foreign banks abroad with the sole aim of deceiving their clients.

They are targeting organisations such as solicitors, shipping companies, estate agents and businesses in general. Whilst the tactic of contacting the customer remains the same with them believing they are talking to their own bank. The target audience is altering as the criminals expand and contact clients of foreign banks.

How to protect yourself

  • If you receive an unsolicited email or phone call from what appears to be your bank or building society asking for your security details, never reveal your full password, login details or account numbers. Most banks will not approach their customers in this manner.
  • If you want to call your bank, then do it from another telephone.
  • If you are concerned about the source of a call, ask the caller to give you a main switchboard number for you to be routed back to them. Alternatively, hang up and call your bank back on the legitimate phone number printed on your bank statements.

Take Five to stop fraud

The recently launched Take Five campaign is an example of a recent UK initiative designed to remind people that it pays to stop and think to avoid fraud. It’s co-ordinated by Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) and consists of support from all major banks and key financial services providers across the UK.

To report a fraud and cyber crime and receive a police crime reference number, call us on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.

Sign up for free to Action Fraud Alert to receive direct, verified, accurate information about scams and fraud in your area by email, recorded voice and text message.