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Sophisticated methods used in bank scams are "deeply concerning"

Sophisticated methods used in bank scams are

Saturday 13 April 2024

Sophisticated methods used in bank scams are "deeply concerning"

Saturday 13 April 2024


Islanders have lost vast sums of money in complex scams by groups akin to "criminal gangs", Jersey's Police Chief has warned.

Financial scams have conned islanders out of over £2 million so far this year, with individual losses running into the tens of thousands.

An 84-year islander recently lost a significant sum after providing information during what they believed to be a genuine call from their bank.

Police said they are “intensifying” efforts to safeguard the community against these losses, which cause “significant distress and can have lasting effects on the victims”.

Police Chief, Robin Smith said: “In an era where financial scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, the safety and security of our islanders’ personal and financial information is paramount.”

Mr Smith said that he called one of the numbers used in recent scams himself and found the methods used were “deeply concerning”.

He explained: “These operations are masquerading as legitimate banking institutions, utilising clever social-engineering techniques to inject a sense of urgency and financial jeopardy while at the same time offering an entirely false, professional calm and reassuring tone.

"Don’t believe a word of it.

Mr Smith added that he had met senior figures in the banking and telecom industries to discuss tackling “the root causes” of fraud.

WATCH: Police Chief Robin Smith warned islanders against "smishing" and phone scams.

He said: “There’s a genuine commitment to forge strategies and discuss technological interventions to intercept and prevent these fraudulent calls and messages before they reach potential victims.”

Mr Smith continued: “To our islanders, I offer this crucial advice: safeguard your information as you would your own home. 

“Under no circumstances should you provide personal or financial details over the phone or via text messages. 

“Do not click on links from unknown sources, and never call back numbers that are provided in unsolicited communications. 

“In essence, these organised criminal gangs are seeking to persuade you to effectively give them your front door key so they can simply walk in and steal your possessions.”

The Police Chief instructed islanders to “trust your instincts” if a call seems suspicious, and to hang up immediately.

“I urge everyone to remain vigilant, to report any suspicious activity, and to remember that when it comes to your personal information, caution is always the best policy,” he said.

TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR MONEY:

Police have reiterated a number of steps islanders can take to avoid losing their hard-earned cash to scams:

  • Never share sensitive information such as online banking passwords, one-time security codes, PINs or tokens, to anyone over the phone.

  • Verify independently: If you are in doubt whether a call is legitimate, hang up and call the bank or financial institution on the official number found in their app or on a bank card.

  • Stay alert: Banks will never request passwords, codes and other security details.

  • Hang up if a call seems suspicious and don’t click on links in texts.

  • Community vigilance: Check on friends and family, especially those who are more susceptible to such scams.

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