A mum of two from Birmingham was left in debt after scammers raided her bank account over a five day long sophisticated scam.
The Mirror reports how Hannah Greaves was tricked by cruel fraudsters who convinced her they were working on behalf of her banks fraud department. The fraudsters built up a credible story over the course of five days and were able to gain her trust, before stealing over £9,000.
Hannah said: “I can’t believe how believable the fraudsters were. They seemed to know my bank, NatWest’s website inside out, the layout of the screens and the language the bank staff use.”
The fraudsters had hacked into a text thread from NatWest to Hannah and told her they had suspended some fraudulent activity. She checked her bank account and there was nothing that seemed suspicious. She thought that the bank were just taking extra precautions as it was over the Christmas period and there had been a lot more activity than usual.
She then received a call from the NatWest Fraud line, the fraudsters had managed to spoof the call so it displayed as the correct telephone number for NatWest’s Fraud department. A lady on the other end of the line then read out to Hannah some of her recent transactions, a few were genuine and some were not.
Hannah Said: “I said some of those transactions were not mine, including a transfer from my current account that put me into my maximum overdraft, something I had never done in 20 plus years of being a customer. The lady confirmed some transactions were fraudulent. She said she could tell I was out and about and the fraud department would monitor my account and call me to secure it when I got home.”
The lady called Hannah back a few hours later and told her she would now secure her account. She asked her to log in and put her bank card into her card reader to complete a merger.
“She sounded very professional and she talked me through the online banking process and the screens. She was patient and there were sounds in the background of people talking to what I believed were other customers. That made me believe it was a call centre. I didn’t disclose my PIN, in fact she told me not to as it would compromise my security. I then received a text from NatWest with a code that I was told to give out to my bank advisor when they contacted me. I was then transferred to a man in higher security, who confirmed my accounts were safe.”
The man then told her he had made her an appointment to visit her local branch to order a new card and PIN. She checked the number he was calling off, and it was the same as the bank’s official fraud line.
The following day, Hannah received another call, this time from NatWest’s actual fraud department, asking if she had requested emergency cash. This is when she learnt that someone had impersonated her and emptied her bank account.
“When I realised what had happened I was devastated. They took every penny and left me with an overdraft. I felt sick and helpless, especially when the bank told me they wouldn’t reimburse my money.”
NatWest initially refused to reimburse Hannah, they said she had given away information that allowed the crooks to impersonate her and get through the bank’s security systems. However, they have now refunded Hannah her money, which was saved for bills and Christmas presents.
A spokesperson for NatWest said: “ We understand fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated techniques and on reviewing this case further have decided to refund in full. We take fraud and scams very seriously and keeping our customers safe and secure is of paramount importance to us. Customers should remain vigilant and never make a payment, divulge card reader codes of full security credentials at the request of someone over the phone. If a customer receives such a request, they should decline this and report it to their bank immediately on a phone number they can trust.”