Metro Bank is taking steps to protect its customers as well as Britons at large, and each month it highlights a scam which it finds particularly concerning. This month, it has warned about spoofing scams, the act of disguising a communication so it appears to be from a known trusted source. It is instead intended to enable a scammer to defraud a person. Unfortunately, this has been an issue which has been on the rise recently, as it takes place in a wide variety of forms to catch people off guard.
As a result, individuals are being urged to pay attention to the matter, and ensure they do not end up as the next victim – as the consequences can be severe and devastating.
Spoofing takes place in various forms, and it can apply to websites, emails, phone calls and text messages.
Sometimes, it can be easy to spot, however, Metro Bank has warned fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated, making it more challenging to pick out the real from the fake.
A common form of spoofing takes place via email, where the “spoofer” will send out emails with a falsified “From:” line.
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In another form of contact, phone number spoofing is also common, and scammers have been known to pretend to be the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the National Crime Agency, or other Government departments to enhance their supposed legitimacy.
Fraudsters, Metro Bank warns, will falsify phone numbers from which they are calling in the hope of getting individuals to take their call and answer the intrusive questions they may ask.
Finally, website spoofing is also increasing in terms of usage by con artists. In this instance, a website is designed to mimic an existing site which is known and trusted by the user.
Fraudsters will use this as a front to harvest login and other personal information from users. In this sense, it could be used in conjunction with the other, aforementioned types of spoofing.
Adam Speakman, head of fraud and investigations at Metro Bank, said: “With a rise in both authorised push payment scams and card scams – it is important that customers are extra vigilant about the contact they are receiving.
“Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police so it can be difficult to spot scam texts, emails and phone calls.”
All is not lost, however, and there are sensible ways Britons can take action in order to protect themselves from the increasingly sophisticated techniques of these fraudsters.
First and foremost, Britons are urged to always examine any and all communications they receive. They should look out for poor spelling, and incorrect or inconsistent grammar, as these errors are often indicators of spoofing.
Individuals should never take phone calls at face value, and should be wary of callers who request personal information. In the same sense, no one should ever be pressured into making a decision. If something does not seem right, they should always hang up.
Similarly, people can also use a different form of communication to confirm the information they receive is legitimate. For example, if a person receives a request/invoice via text or email, they should call the company or individual to confirm.
For emails, the sender address should always be checked, and for websites, individuals can look at the URL address. No one should ever click links or attachments in unexpected text messages or emails.
Finally, Metro Bank has warned Britons to never respond to requests for money or important personal information such as bank details or passwords.