Business directors, elderly and vulnerable members of the public have been receiving unsolicited calls from fraudsters purporting to be from their bank or couriers working on behalf of their bank. On occasion they also claim to be police officers working on a fraud involving bank employees.
How the scam works
The fraudsters telephone customers on their landline claiming that their account has been compromised. In order to gain the customer’s trust, the fraudsters tell them to ring their bank on the telephone number printed on the reverse of their card to ensure the call is genuine. The fraudster pretends to hang up the call, however, keeps the telephone line open, so even though the customer thinks they are calling their bank, the call does not go through. Instead they are still unwittingly re-connected to the fraudster.
The fraudster, who is now pretending to be the bank, may say that the card needs to be collected and may ask the customer to key in their PIN or write it down and put it in an envelope with the card, cash and their online banking secure key or secure device, before sending a courier to collect the items. The customer will be advised that the card is going for forensic testing, but is actually delivered to the fraudster. Once in possession of the card, the PIN and the victim's full bank details, the fraudsters attempt to withdraw all available funds from the customer's account.
Alternatively they may say that in order to protect your money you need to transfer funds to a ‘safe’ holding account while they investigate the staff fraud. The fraudster then provides their own bank details and the customer unwittingly transfers their account balance to the fraudster.
How to avoid becoming a victim
HSBC will NEVER send a courier to your home to collect your card, PIN, online banking secure key, secure device or cash. Contact us and your local police immediately if this happens
We will NEVER ask you to transfer your money to an account at another bank for “safe keeping”. If you receive such a request, end the call and contact the bank using a different phone line
The police will never ask you to withdraw cash or transfer funds to them in order to help with an investigation. If you receive such a request end the call
Do not divulge your PIN to anyone
We may call you as part of our fraud detection purposes to verify whether a transaction is genuine or not. We will never ask you to divulge full security information or advise you that we are sending a courier to collect this information
If the caller asks you to make a call, use a different phone line (where possible). Where a second phone line is not available, try calling a friend on the line first. A fraudster will find it difficult to impersonate a voice that is known to you. Alternatively wait 10 minutes before making the call to ensure the line is fully disconnected
If in doubt, don't call back.
For UK customers
Financial Conduct Authority consumer helpline - 0800 111 6768
Financial Conduct Authority website - Scams
Customers living in the USA and other countries/territories are advised to contact their local state/country authority.