The States of Jersey Police Joint Financial Crime Unit (JFCU) are warning islanders to be vigilant with their personal information following complaints of an increase in calls about a lucrative scam.
The scam which falls in the category of "receipt of fraudulent instructions is when a financial institution receives a fraudulent request from a third party pretending to be a genuine customer, for example asking to transfer funds from a genuine customer into the account of a criminal.
These fraudsters do so by obtaining personal information from their victim and then approaching the bank using this data.
Fraudsters can obtain personal information in several ways:-
"Phishing emails, where the victim provides personal details when answering an email received from a supposedly bona-fide company
compromise of a person's email account
interception of postal mail
poorly discarded personal information
This personal information is then used to send an email or letter to the victims' bank, which will provide a new email address and telephone number for the victim but is actually a contact for the fraudster.
Included in the email or letter (or sent the following day) will be an instruction to make a payment or transfer to another account.
In these cases the email address will often be generic, for example @gmail.com or @yahoo.com and the telephone number provided will be a "pay as you go number.
Most institutions receiving the instructions have adequate safety procedures in place, and will call the genuine customer back using a telephone number already held on their records, or the victim's email address asking the customer to contact them directly.
Simple security questions would then verify the true identity of their customer.
However, the fraud can be successful if the institution d"s not have a call back procedure, the transaction requested falls below a company set threshold, or the fraudster is contacted via the details they have provided and there are no security questions.
To help safeguard your own details the States of Jersey Police advise that
Your anti-virus software is up to date and you change your email password regularly.
Do not open any emails and attachments if you do not recognise the sender or it seems out of character
Do not respond to emails from banks or other financial institutions
Ensure that the disposal of any personal document is thorough, with shredding being the best option.
The States of Jersey Police urge Islanders to be alert to letter and email scams, where they may be approached and asked for bank account or credit card details, and other personal information. You should never give out personal details via email, letter or text, to an unknown sender, as this is just another version of "cold calling by scammers.
There is a UK agency that collates all email and correspondence scams. Recipients of such approaches should copy the correspondence to www.actionfraud.org.uk