HSBC said investment scams cause the biggest losses for its customers than any other type of fraud. This type of scam involved clients being tricked into buying fake bonds or cryptocurrency. Typically, criminals start an investment scam with a message or phone call informing the client of an opportunity “too good to miss”.
Fraudsters will also contact their victims over the course of a few months or sometimes years to try to get as much money from them as possible.
The bank said it receives reports of scams involving trading from genuine companies, but they are carried out by a fraudulent middleman.
Victims will see their investments or returns through an app or website often created by the scammer, but the client will eventually lose contact with this bogus middleman.
At this point, people might have poured thousands of dollars into the programs, but will have no return to show for it.
HSBC UK Fraud Manager David Callington, “With the exorbitant cost of living, it’s no surprise that people are drawn to schemes promising low risk for high returns.
“The general rule is that if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Customers can check whether a company is authorized via the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website – if not unregulated, we would not recommend investing.
Apart from investment scams, HSBC has also alerted customers to other examples of fraud that are costing people thousands of pounds.
The two types of scams that HSBC also saw an increase were impersonation scams and purchase scams.
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HSBC said: “There are a variety of ways fraudsters use vehicles to extract funds, some involve fake shipping websites that promise to handle funds for vehicles purchased overseas.”
“Some advertise vehicles well below market value to entice customers, customers are then convinced to buy either by making deposits or paying direct.”
Mr Callington added: “Unfortunately there are a number of fake adverts placed on legitimate sites such as Autotrader, Facebook and Ebay. As with any major purchase online, it’s important to see the vehicle that was advertised in real life before handing over your money. »
Between November 2021 and April 2022, HSBC saw 2,825 victims of scams, with the total amount of money involved in these scams per month peaking at £3.4m in April.
Over the same period, HSBC customers said they were scammed out of a total of £20.1million.
To combat these scams, HSBC has revamped its free HSBC Fraud and Cybercrime Awareness app, which can be downloaded by users whether or not they are customers.
He said the app gives users warnings about newly spotted scams as well as information on recognizing and reporting scams.
Mr Callington said: “We are able to deliver real-time warnings through push notifications, information and education, to help more people protect themselves and their hard-earned money from these criminals.”
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