Metro Bank issues urgent warning to all Britons on bank scams – how to protect yourself

Martin Lewis shares tips for checking scams

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Metro Bank is a newer, yet popular provider which has unfortunately joined the list of banks which have been exploited by unscrupulous fraudsters. It is sadly the case that the names of familiar banks and building societies are being used to lull savers into a false sense of security. Now, however, the bank is fighting back in efforts to keep Britons, whether they use Metro or not, safe from criminals. 

Metro Bank’s ’Scam of the Month’ for June 2021 is bank impersonation, a rising issue which many people have reported.

Bank impersonation scams involve a customer receiving contact – via phone, text or email – which they believe is from their own bank, but in fact derives from a fraudster.

The issue appears to have become worse throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with criminals seemingly preying on uncertainty and financial instability at this time.

Criminals have been deploying a technique which is commonly known as “spoofing” in order to advance their aims.

This involves cloning the number or sender identification of a call or text which the genuine bank actually uses.

The fraudster will then tell Britons there is a “security issue” with their account which means they will have to move their funds due to fraud.

It will then be the case that a saver is convinced to move their funds to a new account which has supposedly been opened by the bank.

This, the fraudster states, will help Britons protect their hard-earned cash from being stolen.

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However, ironically, the opposite is true, and instead of being a secure account, this is actually managed by the fraudster themselves.

It effectively leaves the door wide open for cybercriminals to withdraw the funds from the new account and make off with the money.

The scam is then complete, leaving unsuspecting Britons devastated and financially compromised. 

Adam Speakman, head of fraud and investigations at Metro Bank offered further insight on the matter.

He said: “This is perhaps one of the most insidious scams as it breaches the trust consumers have with their banks.

“We want the public to be more aware of this so they can spot and avoid the scam.

“It can be hard to spot as there is potential for the genuine bank contact number to be spoofed – and even for the fraudster’s text message to appear in the genuine text stream from your bank.

“But again, alarm bells should be ringing if you are being pressed to act fast.

“Your bank will never ask you to move funds, especially if it’s to a different bank.

“Remember that new bank accounts can only ever be opened by customer request – we would never open an account on the customer’s behalf on the phone, nor pressure you into doing so.”

As a result, Metro Bank is urging its customers and other Britons to “spot” and then “block” the scam.

Those who receive a call, text, email or any other type of correspondence which asks for payment are told never to engage.

Instead, in the case of phone calls, Britons should hang up and then call their bank back using the number on the back of their bank card.

Any caller who states they have set up a new bank account for a person to move money to is likely to be a scammer.

Most of all, if anyone ever feels threatened or is asked to act urgently, then they should hang up immediately. 

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