Police have issued a serious warning to customers of major UK banks about a fake investment scam that has left victims with massive bank loans.
The victims were initially attracted by flashy online adverts for an investment scheme. One man in his 20s from Nottinghamshire was left with six loans totalling £118,500 money he now has to repay.
Another victim, a woman in her 60s, fell into £24,000 of debt under similar circumstances. Kirsty Jackson, a cyber protect officer at Nottinghamshire Police, said: “These online investment scammers pose as legitimate companies with hundreds of positive reviews, so it can be very easy to become a victim.
“It is therefore extremely important that people only grant remote access to their mobile phone, iPad, laptop or computer if they are asked by someone they know and trust, such as a friend or family member. You should never grant remote access to your device as a result of an unsolicited call, browser pop-up, or text message.
“The consequences of doing so can be devastating. These scams have had a profound impact on their victims as the banks have now insisted on the loans being paid back. We are helping them submit claims for the loans to be written off, but there are no guarantees and so the best way to protect yourself is to be vigilant of such scams.
Kirsty added: “While remote access tools are safe when used legitimately, we want the public to be aware that they can be misused by criminals to commit fraud. It’s important the public understand that legitimate organisations will never contact you out of the blue requesting remote access to your device. No matter what is said, remote access scams all have the same thing in common the scammer will always ask you to type something into your browser or request you to download a remote access tool in order to grant them access to your device.”
“Once they have access to your device, they can then access personal information which can be used to apply for loans or bank accounts and access your own bank accounts to steal more money from you. When the scammer has remote access to your device, the camera can be accessed to allow for Face ID verification to finalise fraudulent applications made.”
“The scammers can close any fraud warning pop-ups generated by your bank or ask you for a code sent by the bank (from your Secure Key if you have one), otherwise if any codes are sent to your phone number or other verification options enabled, the scammer will likely have access to it since they have access to your device. That’s why it is important to never grant remote access to anyone who contacts you out of the blue.”
How to report scams
If you suspect a scammer is calling you, hang up immediately and search for the contact details online of the place you’re supposedly being called from. Never call back the number provided by the caller.
Contact your bank straight away if you think a fraudster has got access to your account. You can call the 159 hotline, which will connect you to your bank.