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Text message scam that deprived a pregnant woman of £70,000 from her bank account

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A pregnant woman recently inherited £71,000 from her late dad. She lost the money in a sophisticated scam. Her bank refused to refund her money, claiming that it was not their fault, according to the Mirror.

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The currently-circulating scam consists of the victims receiving a text that seems to be from their bank. It looks like a typical text that the client might have received several times from the bank. A consumer expert even said that it doesn’t seem to be the type of message that would trigger questions regarding authenticity.

The message says that there has been suspicious activity on your account, that your credit card was used and names a store and the amount spent. It comes in the same message thread as your actual bank’s messages and advises you to call a “fraud prevention” number if you do not recognise the transaction. When you call the number, there is even someone on the other line who answers and talks to you. After the end of the call, the fraudster accesses your account and drains the funds.

In the pregnant’s woman case, the call was 30 minutes long, during which she gave details about her account. “The man I spoke to was lovely, we built up a rapport and he said they would send me a new card in three days,” the woman said. After she hung up, she became worried, so decided to call the bank back. As she was on hold, she decided to log in to her online banking only to watch her money being drained from her account.

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Her bank, Santander, declined her fraud claim, as she allowed a third party to access her account: “When there has been no Santander error and customers have divulged personal, security information, we cannot accept any responsibility for the losses on the account”. The bank managed to reimburse her £400 from the lost money and retrieved another £1,850 from the receiving bank account and return it to her.

The Mirror offers people some tips on how to avoid this scam:

1. Never give out personal or financial information on the phone or by email. Your bank, the police or any other organisation will never ask you for these in full

2. Never allow someone remote access to your computer following a cold call

3. Don’t rely on caller ID – numbers can be spoofed by fraudsters to make it look like they’re calling from a trusted number

4. Your bank, the police or any other company, will never call to ask you to transfer your money out of your account for security reasons

5. Be wary of all cold calls claiming to be from banks, police, or other trusted organisations – if you have any concerns, call back on an independently verified number

6. If you have fallen victim to a scam, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

John Michaelle