Online Banking and Transferring Money

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Transferring money via mobile and online banking is easy and convenient in both business and personal use. However, cybercriminals take advantage of this convenience. Scams happen usually when buying or selling goods and the cybercriminal plays on your emotions with offers such as making money. There are a few kinds of scams involved with transferring money as explained below.

Advance Fee/Prepayment

This is usually common with fake loans. Genuine looking websites containing realistic documents and email addresses advertise cheap loans or a loan offer that seems too good to be true. Once you get in contact with the company, you are asked through a thread of emails to make an advanced payment. The victim then completes this transaction through online banking, but the loan never exists and the website is shut down, along with all contact with the cybercriminals.

This is normally committed when someone is selling something online and in person. The ‘buyer’ who is the cybercriminal, send the seller a legitimate looking cheque for the goods. However, this cheque is for more than the seller priced the item. The cybercriminal creates an explanation and requests the seller to transfer the money back. The seller does, but the cheque is fake, stolen or bounces and the cybercriminal is no longer contactable. Not only has the seller potentially already sent and lost the item they believed had ‘sold’ but they have also sent money to the cybercriminal and is not likely to be able to retrieve it.
Proof of Payment
Proof of payment scams usually occur when renting a property or purchasing a car. This is where the ‘landlord’ or ‘salesman’ asks you to make a transfer of money to a family or friend and then prove that the payment has gone through. When the victim completes this risk, they send the proof of payment. The cybercriminal then copies this proof of payment and collects it for fake ID purposes. There is no property for rent or car for sale. The cybercriminal takes the information and cuts all communication.
Inheritance Scam
Cybercriminals target their victims by making promises of inheritance and investment. These offers are usually too good to be true. The cybercriminals offer this in exchange for an ‘admin fee’ or a ‘transaction fee’. The victim pay, but never receives inheritance or an investment into anything. The cybercriminal then cuts all contact.
Lottery Wins and Prizes
Victims of this cybercrime usually receive a phone call explaining how the victim has won the lottery or a prize. The cybercriminal then over the phone asks for a ‘processing fee’ or a ‘tax’ to claim it. The victim does this but never receives any money or prize and the cybercriminal becomes uncontactable.
Mystery Shopping
Victims of this cybercrime usually receive a phone call explaining how the victim has won the lottery or a prize. The cybercriminal then over the phone asks for a ‘processing fee’ or a ‘tax’ to claim it. The victim does this but never receives any money or prize and the cybercriminal becomes uncontactable.
Cybercriminals advertise a ‘work from home’ job. The details of the listed job seem too good to be true. However, the victim is persuaded and signs up. They are sent a cheque from the cybercriminal to cover ‘startup costs’ and to transfer the money back to the company once everything has been paid for. The cybercriminal also requests a ‘recruitment fee’ and a fee for ’employee checks’. By the time the victim has made all these payments, the cybercriminal cuts all contact and the victim is left jobless and with less money.
Rental Property
Cybercriminals list a property for rent. Once a victim agrees the property is fit for purpose and wants to rent it, the cybercriminal requests various fees as well as a deposit . Once they have paid this sum of money, the criminal removes all adverts for the property along with any form of contact with the victim. This can also happen the other way round where the victim is the landlord. A property is advertised for rent and a cybercriminal shoes interest and sends a fraudulent cheque to the landlord. However, the cybercriminal then changes their mind and requests that the landlord transfers the money back. The landlord does, but is unaware the cheque is fraudulent, it then bounces and the landlord is scammed out of money.
Vehicles for Sale

The seller is the cybercriminal and asks the person interested in the vehicle to send money as a deposit via online banking, or to cover shipping fees. The buyer does this, but there is no vehicle and the victim is no longer able to contact the cybercriminal. This also works the other way round with the seller being scammed. The cybercriminal sends the seller a cheque as a deposit for the vehicle. However, they change their mind and request the seller to transfer the money back. The seller does, but without knowing, the cheque is fraudulent so eventually bounces.

Emergency/Grandparent Scam

Cybercriminals target the elderly for this scam. They pretend to be grandchildren to the victim in desperate need of help. With stories of sickness, being assaulted, arrested or just an urgent situation. The cybercriminal then asks for money from the elderly. The elderly victims then fall for this, worrying for their family and transfer the money via online banking.

Online Auction
This is where the victim is bidding online for an item and the seller states they only accept money transfers. The buyer then wins the item and transfers the money, but the seller, being the cybercriminal never sends the item. Even if the buyer has not won the item, a fraudulent company will contact them offer the same item. The victim transfers the money, but again never receives the item.
Relationships, Romance and Dating
Victims end up talking to potential partners online. In some occasions, the potential partner is just a cybercriminal. The victim is then asked to transfer money, after building up a relationship with the fraudster. The explanation being some emotional or emergency situation. But as the victim believes they are developing a relationship, they care for the fake dating site user, and transfer the money. The fake account is then deleted so the victim can no longer get in contact with the criminal.

Take Action


Things to watch out for

  • Situations or goods that seem ‘too good to be true’
  • Items seem a lot cheaper than usual
  • People offering you more money that the asking price of something you are selling
  • Investment schemes
  • Unusual ‘processing fees’ or ‘tax’

Protect yourself and your business

  • Never transfer money to someone you have never met before
  • Never send ‘taxes’ or ‘processing fees’ for lottery wins
  • Never provide any bank details to anyone, this should always be kept confidential
  • Don’ make any prepayments for loans or credit cards
  • Never send a deposit for a car unless you are doing so from a reputable company
  • Never send money in an ’emergency’ without verifying the emergency
  • Never transfer money back fro a cheque or send the goods until a cheque has fully cleared
  • Do not transfer money for online purchases, use a safe and secure online checkout
  • Never open any links or attachments in emails, especially if you don’t know the recipient

Report it!

  • Call your bank immediately and inform them of any payments you have made
  • Warn other employees in the company so the mistake isn’t made twice
  • Phone us straight away on 0800 680 00 88 and report it to Action Fraud