April 23, 2024

HSBC warns account holders over mistake costing ‘life changing’ sum of money

HSBC UK has urgently warned consumers about a change in approach by some scammers, using gold and silver bullion, as well as purchased jewellery, as part of their scam to steal money from unwitting victims. The scammers and fraudsters often pose as police officers, the bank says.

They suggest that a fraud has taken place on an account. The plot also often involves claims that the bank customer has been chosen to help with an investigation into the bank branch, or that members of branch staff are involved in a plan to steal money from the account, replacing it with counterfeit money.

The bank received an average of 46 cases per month where customers have fallen victim to an Impersonation Scam where a scammer impersonates the Police or a bank worker, with an average case value of almost £600k (£598,692). While the number of other types of Impersonation Scam are twice as common, with an average of 95 cases per month, the average case value is much lower at £245k, albeit still a life-changing amount.

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David Callington, HSBC UK’s Head of Fraud, said: “Scammers are devious criminals who adapt their approach from time to time, trying to stay one step ahead of banks and the Police. Over the last couple of months we may have seen the start of a trend where purchasing and physically handing over gold, silver or jewellery has become part of a scam.

“Whereas scammers previously often used cryptocurrency exchanges to ‘cash out’, moves to tighten payments across the industry have led criminals to go down a different route. While this not only leads to the customer losing money through the scam, as there is a physical element to it with a meeting to carry out the handover, there’s a potential physical risk to the victim as well. If you receive a call out of the blue about money, it is very likely to be a scam.”

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