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With the increasing reliance on digital banking, a specific form of fraud has emerged where scammers impersonate bank officials to deceive individuals into transferring funds or granting remote computer access. This type of scam often involves convincing the victim that their money is under threat and that they must act swiftly to protect it. Recent developments have seen scammers using website chat functions to facilitate the installation of remote access software.

The Scam Process

The scam typically starts with the scammer contacting the victim, falsely claiming to be from their bank and reporting an urgent financial risk. The victim is told their funds need to be transferred to a “safe account” or that they must download software to safeguard their financial information. In some cases, scammers employ website chat functions to distribute remote access tools, misleading victims into compromising their own security under the pretence of receiving bank support.

Key indicators of these scams include:

  • Unsolicited communication from someone claiming to represent your bank, indicating a problem with your account.
  • Requests to download software or click on links as a part of problem resolution.
  • Pressure to quickly transfer funds to prevent loss.
  • Instructions to log into bank accounts while the computer is under remote access.

To protect against these scams:

  • Verify Contacts: Always confirm the identity of any contact claiming to be from your bank by calling back using official numbers.
  • Avoid Unverified Software: Do not download software or click on links from unknown sources, especially during unsolicited communications.
  • Use Known Communications Channels: Engage with your bank through its official website, app, or customer service numbers.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up to date on common scam methods and new threats.
  • Report Anomalies: Notify your bank immediately if you encounter suspicious activity.

If you suspect you have been the victim of an impersonation scam:

  • Disconnect Internet: Immediately cut off internet access to prevent further remote activity.
  • Secure Accounts: Contact your bank to secure your accounts and change all related passwords.
  • Monitor Transactions: Watch for unauthorised transactions and report them to your bank.
  • Report to Authorities: Inform Police Scotland and relevant agencies about the scam.

Awareness and caution are vital in protecting against bank impersonation and remote access scams. Recognising the tactics used and taking preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim. If in doubt, take the time to verify the authenticity of any banking or organisational communication.