Scamwatch: new banking fraud alert

Has your online bank account really been suspended?

Scamwatch: new banking fraud alert

Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles giving you the lowdown on the scams they use to trick people out of their hard-earned cash - and how to avoid being taken in by them.

This week, we issue a warning about a new banking scam that aims to trick victims into handing over their bank details.

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How does it work?

Lloyds Bank customers are being targeted by text message fraudsters who want to get their hands on their bank details - probably so they can steal money from victims' accounts.

The bogus message, which appears to be being sent out randomly, claims that the recipient's online banking login details have been suspended.

It therefore asks the recipient to call a number to rectify the problem.

"We're sorry but your login details have been suspended," the message reads. "Please call us on: 01412660151. Please have your account details to hand when you call."

But if you do that, you may end up handing over information the criminals can use to defraud you.

"We're aware of this type of SMS going around," Lloyds said on social media site Twitter. "It's a scam."

How can I avoid being caught out?

Online banking services sometimes experience glitches that mean customers are unable to use them for a short time.

On occasion, banks also suspend customers' accounts due to concerns about fraud.

But even in these circumstances, you should not receive a text message from your bank asking you to call it and disclose your bank details.

If you do receive a text message about this issue purporting to be from your bank, you should therefore call your bank on a separately sourced, official number - from the bank's website for example - to check it out before responding in any way.

You can also check to see if you have any issues logging into your online account.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?

If you receive a bogus text such as this, do not be tempted to respond, as this will let the fraudsters know that your number is active and a potential target for future scams. Instead, contact your bank to report the fraud.

If you have handed over any details, it is even more important to contact your bank to secure your accounts and block any transactions the criminals may try to make.

You should also report the scam to the police via Action Fraud (0300 123 2040).

Victims of scams and fraud

Victims of scams and fraud