Banking on your good nature

As we become more a-tuned to potential phishing attempts, the fraudsters up their game to try and catch us out and profit from our sense of security. More and more banks are now putting fraud prevention measures in place, which are being used against them by the cyber criminals.

This is a real text, received by someone in my family in early March. The number it has been sent from has been spoofed so that it appears to have come from the short code number used by TSB Bank.

What makes this scam relatively effective is that TSB are one of the banks that send message alerts to clients when they use their cards abroad. So by sending these texts, they are alerting customers to a potential fraud, when in reality, they are attempting to defraud.

For many TSB customers familiar with these texts (and assuming that they are not abroad at the moment, which in most instances would be against lockdown regulations), receiving such a message would cause concern.

The first action many people would take is to call the number. After all, we are warned about clicking on links and following strange URLs. But a phone number isn’t an issue, right? Unfortunately, in this case it is a major issue. Whilst the second telephone number is a genuine number for TSB Bank, the first one most certainly isn’t. At least not anymore.

Back in the day it was a valid number for the bank – if you search for the telephone number you will find some Tweets from the bank advising customers to use that number. But that was back in 2013. Today, the bank uses 03459 758 758 but the 08459 number is still being used for fraudulent purchases.

If you do receive similar messages from a bank who you happen to use and it does appear strange then contact them using telephone numbers from their website and not within the text message.

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