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By Haddenham Webteam - 14th December 2016 8:30am
Most regular users of email will be very familiar with the scams perpetrated by cyber criminals, asking us to "re-verify" our banking, Paypal, Amazon or other online accounts "otherwise they will be shut down with immediate effect".
Most are easily spotted:
- not personally addressed (Dear User ...)
- refer to accounts that we don't hold
- use of poor grammar / pidgin English
- typographical errors
- sent from non-kosher / unrelated email accounts (e.g., from college or university servers)
However, some scams are relatively sophisticated and financed by organised crime.
So it is a little ironic to see perpetrators reverting to good old-fashioned snail mail to con their potential victims.
Here is a specific example, based on an announcement from Thames Valley Police. It refers to one particular bank, but we all need to be on our guard, as the next tranche of letters may be "from" our own bank or building society.
Lloyds customers should be on the lookout for a new sophisticated fraud that involves fraudsters sending fake bank letters.
The convincing letters being sent are a replica template from Lloyds and include their logo, address and signature from a customer service representative.
The letter tells recipients that there have been some "unusual transactions" on their personal account and asks them to call a number highlighted in bold to confirm they are genuine.
When victims call the number, an automated welcome message is played and the caller is asked to enter their card number, account number and sort code followed by their date of birth. Victims are then instructed to enter the first and last digit of their security number.
The fraud was spotted by the Daily Telegraph who was alerted to it by a reader who had three identical letters sent to an office address. On separate occasions the Daily Telegraph ran some tests using fake details and were passed to fraudsters who claimed to be from a Lloyds contact centre. The bank has confirmed that the phone number and letters are fake.
The letters are essentially a sophisticated phishing attempt and serves as a warning to consumers to question written correspondence from their banks.
If you are ever suspicious about correspondence from your bank you should call the customer serviced number on the back of your bank card.
To report a fraud and cyber crime, call Thames Valley Police on 0300 123 2040
or visit the ActionFraud website.