‘Real or scam?’ HSBC alerts customers to convincing email fraud

Martin Lewis warns of scam emails using his name

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Referred to as phishing, fraudsters target innocent members of the public by posing as respected organisations, such as banks, to convince them to part with their money. Those who are faced with these scams are often asked to part with their personal and financial information. Thanks to social media, anyone targeted by these fraudsters is able to reach out to organisations who are supposedly reaching out to them to see if they are being scammed.

One of the many regarded institutions fraudsters tend to pose as is HSBC, with many of the bank’s customers being contacted by email scams.

Recently, one customer contacted HSBC on Twitter to see if an email they had received had come from the financial institution.

The Twitter user with the account name Sam Grimley tweeted the bank with the message: “real or scam?”

As part of his message, Mr Grimley screenshotted an image of the email he had received with the subject line on display.

The email’s subject line read: “Please contact us urgently to reclaim money in your frozen account.”

While he did not share the rest of the email, the message sent to Mr Grimley appears to be sent from an official HSBC account at face value.

However, the bank has since revealed this email was not sent by their official communication channels and is a scam.

In response, HSBC tweeted back: “Hi Sam. This looks very much like a scam email, as this is not one of our email addresses.

“Feel free to send me a private message if you want to discuss this further.”

The bank stated: “Email scams (also known as phishing) are unexpected messages that appear to come from a trusted organisation.

“If you receive an email you believe is suspicious, don’t click on any links or open any attachments.”

Furthermore, HSBC is alerting its customers to other scams through different means of communication, including texting.

In its advice, the bank added: “You should also watch out for fake text messages that look like they’ve come from your bank (sometimes called smishing).

“Delete any suspicious text messages and contact the organisation using a phone number you know is genuine.”

According to crime watchog Action Fraud, the Christmas season is one of the busiest times of the year for fraudsters with the public being at their most vulnerable and prone to convincing scams.

Last year, around £15.4million was lost to online shopping fraud during Christmas were targeted by convincing money saving deals.

Pauline Smith, the Director of Action Fraud, cautioned the British public about how dangerous and prevalent these scams are at this time of year.

Ms Smith explained: “Christmas is an incredibly busy time for us all but sadly, criminals will see this as an ideal opportunity to take advantage of shoppers who are caught up in the excitement of securing a bargain online.

“If you think you have found a bargain that is too good to be true, it probably is. Stop and think before making a purchase as it could protect you and your money.

“Always shop with official retailers and follow our simple advice to enjoy shopping online safely and ensure you are not left empty handed this Christmas.”

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