Protecting our personal details gets increasingly difficult with every passing year as technology evolves. If you told me even ten years ago that I would be able to pay for something by tapping my credit card on a device I would have said you were mad. I was only then struggling to get to grips with “Chip & Pin”.
You may have read a report in the papers at the end of August that really hit home with us and the whole financial services industry. The Financial Ombudsman Service has ordered a Financial Advisor to compensate a client after it was deemed that the Advisor failed to prevent fraud. When seen in black and white the situation does sound quite ridiculous, but in the course of day-to-day life I’m sure it did not seem so at the time.
Fraudsters hacked into a client’s email and instructed the client’s financial advisor to make a payment into a solicitor’s bank account in Hong Kong. The platform where the money was held refused to send the payment as they could not verify the solicitor in Hong Kong. Instead, they contacted the advisor, who contacted the client via email to advise of the situation. The fraudsters intercepted the email and, acting as the client, provided details of a UK bank account in the client’s name for the transfer. Although the platform queried the instruction because the details did not match those held on the system, the advisor asked that the withdrawal proceed. And it did! The fraudsters got away with £250,000!
At no point was the client contacted by phone to make sure that the request was legitimate. I would have hoped that alarm bells would have been ringing loud and clear at the mention of foreign bank accounts, solicitors firms that don’t exist and the fact that the new details didn’t match the old, but clearly not.
The moral of the story is that we will always ring you. Any emailed requests for withdrawals will be verified by a phone call from us, so don’t be surprised to hear from us, even though you may have clearly stated what you need, when you need it, and how you need, it in your email. In some cases where details have recently changed, or sometimes just randomly, Transact will also ring you, just to make sure!
We will do everything we can to protect your details but please also help us – if you notice that something is not quite right or is out of the ordinary, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and let us know. Better to be safe than sorry.