Although money transfer and foreign exchange services are an absolutely indispensable part of the national economy, the point must also be made that these services have their fair share of problems, most notably the large number of scams and other nefarious activities that have penetrated the industry. According to Financial Fraud Action UK, an advocacy group to identifying and uncovering fraudulent schemes related to money transfer and other finance-related activities in the UK, an estimated 23.6 million pounds sterling were lost in 2014 to savvy fraudsters who preyed upon both local residents and tourists alike.
As part of their research, the FFA UK has identified some of the most common schemes used by those hoping to perpetrate money transfer fraud. The FFA UK has placed particular attention on the “phone scam”, a scheme in which fraudsters call individuals and masquerade as officials from their designated banking institution. Essentially, the fraud works as follows: the scammers often “spoof” the number of the bank in question, making it appear as if the bank is actually calling when caller ID systems are used. At this point, the scammer will tell the individual that fraud has been detected on the account and that they must quickly move their funds into a “safe” account in order to ensure that they are fully protected. This account is, of course, merely a vehicle through which the scammers can then gain access to the available funds, often leaving the victim penniless.
Through their research, the FFA UK discovered that nearly 70% of UK residents had received fraudulent propositions from scammers pretending to represent banking institutions throughout the last year. With this in mind, it is even more important for UK citizens to remain perpetually vigilant and ensure that they do not fall prey to career scammers.
Banks throughout the UK are requesting that individuals who believe they have been in contact with money transfer scammers contact their offices immediately in order to report the activity so that they can properly warn the rest of their customers. Only through continued vigilance will such criminal activity be effectively thwarted.