Your bank's 'official' Twitter account might actually belong to scammers...
Criminals are posing as banks on social media in what could be the sneakiest scam yet.
They trick unwitting customers into visiting bogus websites or clicking on malware links so that the fraudster can steal their financial details.
It's been reported that three fake NatWest profiles appeared online last week, with scammers contacting customers and sending them links which look almost identical to the bank's website.
One of the accounts, @Natwest_HelpS, tweeted users who had already used the real account, @Natwest_Help.
Others have appeared, including this subtle @Natwest_HelpT handle.
Source: John Northants / Twitter
Metro bank was also impersonated on Twitter last September with the handle @AskMetroBank.
Major banks say they have seen instances of fraud like this, but victims of this crime are at risk of being denied a refund.
Tweeting for help
More and more people are turning to social media for customer service, with Twitter being particularly popular.
Those who have used it say it’s an efficient way to get a response to basic complaints as it’s on such a public platform.
How to spot a fake
It can be hard to tell, but there are a few signs to help you suss out whether or not a Twitter account is a fake.
First, look out for a blue tick - it will appear to the right of the username. Celebrities, public figures and larger companies and organisations will have a blue tick to show that their account is genuine.
If you’re with a smaller bank or building society, be careful; they may not have the tick.
Charter Savings Bank, Yorkshire Building Society and Clydesdale Bank aren’t verified on Twitter.
We've had reports of fake accounts contacting customers. Report any suspicious activity to email@example.com pic.twitter.com/Oql3D3i68j— NatWest Help (@NatWest_Help) September 8, 2016
Have a look at the number of accounts following and followed. If there’s a big difference between the number of followers an account has and the number following, this could spell trouble.
An established company should have several thousand followers so if they have suspiciously few, steer clear.
If the user is posting the same links and messages over and over again, then it’s best to avoid them.
Check any URLs by hovering your mouse over them before you click will help you pinpoint whether a web link is real or fake.
And as we've already seen, variatons between Twitter handles can be slight, so make absolutely sure you're contacting the right person before you tweet anything or click on links.
If you fall victim to this scam, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud.
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