Millions could be vulnerable to fraud attack – TSB

Millions of people could be vulnerable to a fraud attack by failing to recognise common warning signs in third party communications, research from TSB has revealed.

The bank showed 2,000 UK adults a series of 20 emails and texts from third parties, such as banks and mobile phone providers – 10 of which were genuine communications and a further 10 of which were fraudulent.

Just 18% of respondents were able to correctly identify all 10 fraudulent messages, while only 25% of respondents could identify all fraudulent messages imitating banks. TSB found that 36% could correctly identify the scams pretending to be from other common providers, such as mobile phone companies or retailers.

Over a third (37%), however, indicated they would respond to at least one fraudulent message claiming to be from their bank, which TSB suggested shows the “great lengths fraudsters go to” in making targeted scams look convincing.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, TSB has also reported a significant spike in smishing attacks, although the bank found that losses and cases did not rise at an equivalent rate.

The research also found that those aged between 18 and 24 were most at risk of falling victim to fraud as they identified considerably fewer fraudulent messages than older generations, with just 9% achieving a full score. Another 41% also stated they would respond to at least one fraudulent message claiming to be from their bank, while 35% would respond to a message imitating a provider – the highest of all age groups.

TSB head of fraud, Ashley Hart, commented: “Unfortunately, fraudsters are becoming increasingly clever in using technology such as text messages to impersonate banks and other companies, all to trick people out of their hard-earned money.

“Our findings show how convincing these messages can appear, and highlight a worrying proportion of people who could be caught out. The emotional and financial impact of fraud can be devastating – which is why we reimburse all our customers should they ever fall victim and invest in partnerships with police forces to hunt down the criminals behind these attacks.”

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