Published On: Fri, Apr 9th, 2021

Banks face ‘huge stresses’ as homeworking hinders fraud prevention – how to avoid scams | Personal Finance | Finance

Banks in the UK were forced to adapt to as much as their customers were and almost overnight, thousands of financial workers had to operate from home. This reality placed unprecedented pressure on fraud prevention services and worryingly, many companies struggled to keep pace.

FICO, the world’s leading analytics software company, today released a report (or whitepaper) on the impact of coronavirus on fraud and financial crime.

The first results from the FICO survey, which consisted of 110 interviews with senior executives responsible for financial crime protection, showed how coronavirus put extreme stress on fraud and financial crime prevention at UK banks, as:

  • 79 percent of respondents from UK banks said that working from home had a high or major impact on the effectiveness of their financial crime prevention
  • 49 percent of respondents said it was a major challenge having multiple systems for managing fraud and financial crime


“Even though some 80 percent of the functions between fraud prevention software and AML software are the same, the systems are nearly always separate, and the teams are usually separate too.

“In our survey, 64 percent of UK respondents said these teams don’t even report to the same person at the bank.”

With banks struggling, it obviously does not bode well for financial customers who may now be more at risk.

Indeed, in late March The Chartered Trading Standard Institute (CTSI) detailed it received considerable evidence of banking scams sent via text messages that affected a large number of UK high street giants.

The scammers involved sent phoney messages containing links to request the recipient’s bank login details.

These messages were sent to customers of some of the UK’s largest financial companies including Barclays, Halifax, HSBC and Lloyds.

Katherine Hart, a Lead Officer at CTSI, commented on this: “I am witnessing so many reports of this scam; indeed, I have received multiple versions of it on my phone.

“The public is very vulnerable to this type of fraud, especially when more people rely on online payments.

“Fraudsters change the form and methods of their scams to match shifting consumer behaviour.

“The surge in online shopping and payments means that the public must be more vigilant when making online payments and receiving messages claiming to be from their bank.

“If you receive a suspicious text like this, please contact your bank directly and verify with them.

“Also, forward any scam texts to 7726, which is a free reporting service ran by Ofcom.

“We must protect ourselves and others from these scams but also provide vital intelligence to authorities.”

On top of this, Action Fraud advises consumers to take the following actions to protect themselves against identity fraud:

  • Don’t throw out anything with your name, address or financial details without shredding it first.
  • If you receive an unsolicited email or phone call from what appears to be your bank or building society asking for your security details, never reveal your full password, login details or account numbers. Most banks will not approach their customers in this manner.
  • If you are concerned about the source of a call, ask the caller to give you a main switchboard number for you to be routed back to them. Alternatively, hang up and call your bank back on the legitimate phone number printed on your bank statements.
  • Check your statements carefully and report anything suspicious to the financial institution concerned.
  • If you’re expecting a bank or credit card statement and it doesn’t arrive, tell your bank or credit card company.
  • Don’t leave things like bills lying around for others to look at.
  • If you move house, always get Royal Mail to redirect your post.
  • Get regular copies of your credit report from a credit reference agency.

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