KIS Finance survey highlights threat of ‘safe account’ scams

Forty-eight per cent of people are unaware of ‘safe account’ scams and wouldn’t be able to identify one, a recent survey by KIS Finance has found.

The findings also showed that over a quarter (26%) of people would transfer all of their money to a so-called safe account.

KIS Finance stated that for its survey, which asked 2,000 participants about this type of scam, this figure increased sharply in the 25 to 34 age category with 47% of this group revealing they would willingly transfer their money to a safe account if they received one of these calls.

A safe account scam is when a person receives a phone call from someone – that they believe to be a police officer, or bank representative – telling them that their bank account has been accessed by scammers and their money is at risk of being stolen. The fraudsters get the victims to believe that the only way to prevent it is by transferring everything they have to a so-called safe account.

According to Santander, the number of reported safe account scams rose by 53% in 2019 – which was the latest data available – compared to the previous year. The average amount lost per case was £5,634.

“Safe account scams can see victims losing their life’s savings in the space of minutes, having a detrimental effect on those who fall for it – both financially and emotionally,” said KIS Finance managing director, Holly Andrews. “These scammers are smart – they know exactly how to manipulate the conversation and gain their victims’ trust.

“For example, they will usually ask ‘security questions’ at the beginning of the call in order to gain information such as security codes, log-in details, and bank balances. If the customer later becomes suspicious then they use this information to prove their legitimacy, relying on the customer forgetting that they gave them this information in the first place.

“They will also spoof the phone number so even if someone was to check, their bank’s genuine fraud number and the number that’s calling them will match.

“The number of people who have said that they would willingly make the transfer if they received one of these calls is extremely worrying, especially in the younger age groups where the percentages are significantly higher.

“It sends a clear message of the work that still needs to be done on fraud awareness across the finance and banking sectors.”

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