Are you aware of the growing menace called “bank helpdesk fraud”? The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States has issued a public service announcement due to a surge in complaints related to this type of scam.
In just the first six months of this year, the FBI received 19,000 complaints, amounting to an estimated loss of $542 million for the victims1.
What is Bank Helpdesk Fraud?
Bank helpdesk fraud is a scam where criminals pose as employees of a financial institution. They contact you, claiming that your funds are not secure and have been accessed by a “foreign hacker”. The scammer then persuades you to transfer your money to a “safe” account. In some cases, they may also ask you to install remote access tools, giving them control over your computer.
Similar Trends in Other Countries
This trend isn’t confined to the United States. In the Netherlands, for example, victims lost over fifty million euros2 to bank helpdesk fraud last year. Just like in the U.S., scammers pretend to be financial institution employees and follow similar tactics to defraud people.
Who is Most at Risk?
Almost half of all victims who filed complaints with the FBI were over 60 years old. These older individuals accounted for two-thirds of all losses. So, it’s evident that the elderly are particularly vulnerable to these kinds of scams.
The Growing Threat
Don’t you think the numbers are alarming? The damage caused by bank helpdesk fraud in the U.S. has already increased by 40% in the first eight months of this year compared to the whole of 2022. The threat is real, and it is escalating.
What Can You Do?
We believe it’s essential to remain vigilant. Always double-check with your bank if you receive suspicious calls or emails asking for financial transactions. Never install any software at the request of someone claiming to be a bank employee unless you’ve verified their credentials.
Bank helpdesk fraud is a growing threat, not just in the United States but globally. The FBI has sounded the alarm, and the risk is particularly high for the elderly. Always exercise caution and double-check any financial instructions you receive over the phone or via email. Stay informed and stay safe!