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Fraudsters use hold music in bid to convince unsuspecting banking customers

7th March 2017

The City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has identified that fraudsters are now using background hold music in a bid to make their calls more convincing.

Organised crime groups are attempting to defraud members of the public by impersonating the customer’s bank and according to a convicted fraudster the methods used by them are evolving. The NFIB has been made aware that fraudsters are now using background music, similar to that used by the bank, when the customer is put on hold. The fraudsters use this music as an attempt to convince the customer that the call is genuinely from the bank.

A convicted fraudster explained:

“The banks say they would never call and ask for your account details or PIN numbers. My advice is never speak to anyone who calls you about your account, even if there is background music or other similar factors. If you have any concerns go to a branch or hang up and call the bank direct.”

  • 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 password, login details or account numbers. Most banks will not approach their customers in this manner.
  • If you are concerned about the source of a call, hang up and call your bank back on the legitimate phone number printed on your bank statements or other official bank documents/sources.
  • Check your statements carefully and immediately report anything suspicious to the financial institution concerned.

Stephen Proffitt, Deputy Head of Action Fraud said: “Fraudsters are constantly developing new ways to make their calls more convincing so members of the public need to remain vigilant. If you receive a cold call purporting to be from your bank, always end the call as soon as possible and call your bank back using the number on the back of your bank card or statement and ask to be put through to the fraud team. Tell them exactly what has just occurred. If you believe your bank details may have been compromised, you should report this to your bank immediately.” 

Report fraud and cyber crime to Action Fraud and receive a police crime reference number.

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. 

Notes to editors:

The NFIB proactively seeks information to assist organisations to improve their internal infrastructure. This can make it less likely for an establishment to be targeted by criminals because of a weak link in their system. The department recognises a problem and liaises with the appropriate organisations who then plug the gap in their processes. 

Action Fraud is run by the City of London Police and is the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, providing a central point of contact for citizens and businesses. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau also hosted by the City of London Police, acts upon the information and crimes reported to Action Fraud, developing and disseminating crime packages for investigation locally, regionally and nationally, and executing a range of disruption and crime prevention techniques for victims across all sectors to target criminality and engineer out the threat from fraud and cyber crime.