The banking ombudsman is urging bank customers to take more steps to protect themselves from scammers as his scheme encounters more and more easily avoidable scams.

Nicola Sladden said her experience was that many victims were completely convinced of the legitimacy of the person they intended to send money to, especially in the case of investment and trading scams. romance.

“Often they met the individual online and developed what they saw as a personal connection to that person – thanks to the increasingly sophisticated manipulation techniques of the scammers.

“We’ve seen cases where the scammer’s deception could have been exposed, but the victim didn’t know what to check. However, the good news is that following a few simple steps can thwart the scammers.”

In addition to the classic tips from his Quick Guide on scams (see here), the Banking Ombudsman advises to research the person or entity to whom you wish to send funds and to listen to the warnings.

1. Image search online romantic partners

In a recent case, Fred- complained that his bank wouldn’t allow him to make international wire transfers to Jessica, a woman in the United States with whom he believed he had a genuine relationship. The bank had clear evidence that Jessica was not who she claimed to be. When he searched for photos of “Jessica”, he discovered that they matched a woman with a different name living in another country.

An online image search will show if the image has been used elsewhere – a strong indication that the scammers have created a fictitious person.

“In this case, the bank’s fraud investigator went beyond the call of duty to demonstrate the scam to Fred. He remained convinced, but we applaud the bank’s actions in uncovering the scam.”

2. Listen to banking warnings

In another case, Malia complained that her bank did not stop her from transferring her money to a cryptocurrency trader. But the bank had noticed the unusual transactions and questioned them with her. When Malia said she was transferring funds to a cryptocurrency trader, the bank warned her they were fake traders and told her she needed to make sure she was dealing with someone. one authentic. Malia chose to continue, but later complained when she realized it was a scam.

“It is essential that customers take their bank’s warnings seriously. If your bank reports issues of fraud or scams, we recommend that you proceed with extreme caution.”

3. View reviews and warnings on investment platforms

In a third instance, Raymond transferred money to an online platform via a New Zealand-based cryptocurrency trader. Raymond had made the payments himself via his mobile banking services without the intervention of any bank staff. The platform was fake and Raymond lost all his money. He thought the bank should have warned him about the risks of buying cryptocurrency.

“Sending funds to a cryptocurrency trader is not, in and of itself, indicative of a scam. Many people invest in crypto legitimately,” Ms. Sladden said, “but banking systems cannot detect all scams, so customers should remain vigilant to protect their own interests.”

The search engine results of the company in which Raymond had invested showed many warnings that it was a very sophisticated scam. If Raymond had researched the company before transferring his funds, he likely would have realized he was taking a very high-risk step.

The Banking Mediator also recommends checking whether the investment platform is listed on the website of the Autorité des marchés financiers list of scams – or on similar lists for the regulator of the country where the company is incorporated.

Read Fred, Malia and Raymond’s case notes on the program website:

Bank’s fears of scam justify restriction of client’s services

Bank gave adequate warning of crypto scam risks

The bank had no reason to suspect the funds were going to the fraudster

– no real names

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