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P2 FinCrime is built on the foundations of P2 Consulting and FS 101, both challengers in their respective markets. By combining the Financial Crime expertise of the FS 101 team with the project and programme management skills of P2 consulting we offer the best solutions to clients without the Big 4 overheads.

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P2 FinCrime’s services span the regulatory change lifecycle for Financial Institutions – from advisory and operating model design, to systems evaluation and implementation with a heavy dose of operational performance improvement and remediation along the way.

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In the first of our ‘Ask the Expert’ series, Phil Rolfe, P2 Consulting’s CEO, interviews financial crime and compliance expert Peter Hazlewood.

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Amazon bank account scam – how do you protect yourself from phishing?

P2 FinCrime’s Head of Transformation, Alastair Lauder

19.05.22

Alastair Lauder, Head of Transformation, P2 FinCrime

Thousands of unwitting Amazon customers have been caught up in an Amazon sting operation by fraudsters, Action Fraud has warned recently. The ruse is that Amazon customers receive an email to say their Amazon account has been frozen and they need to complete an identification verification process. “That sounds standard”, the average recipient might think – after all, Amazon contacts its customers all the time. In fact, this regularity of communication with customers is the perfect cover for scammers to contact customers without their emails standing out as fake.

The links in the website lead to seemingly very genuine phishing websites designed to steal Amazon login credentials, as well as personal information and banking details. Action Fraud received over 2000 reports of this phishing scam in one week alone. The online retailer has warned customers to check the validity of emails and Action Fraud has reminded people that banks and official organisations won’t ever ask for personal data via email or text.

Phishing attacks have soared by 220%

Phishing and spoof emails are fraudulent emails that attempt to get people’s personal information. And they’re on the rise. Network company F5 found that during the COVID-19 pandemic, phishing attacks soared by 220%. As the usual criminal revenue streams dried up during the pandemic, fraudsters found financial crime was an area they could successfully exploit, especially as technology-based fraud is a faceless crime meaning fraudsters are more likely to be successful.

So what can people do and look out for to protect themselves from phishing and financial scams?

  • Never click on a link: always go direct to the website where you can check the status of your account, payments etc to validate any of the information within the email
  • Telling signs: whilst phishing emails are getting better, there are some signs you can look out for: spelling mistakes; badly constructed English – lengthy or badly constructed sentences; company logos – may appear blurry, low resolution etc.
  • Hover over the email address: this will show you the sender’s details, most of these look strange and have no association with the company / sender they claim to be
  • Too good to be true: if the offer looks too good to be true, then it usually is
  • Shock tactics: a lot of the attacks try to scare or shock people by saying urgent action needed by claiming your account has been debited, will be cancelled. Always go direct, check your bank account, payment history to validate the information.
  • Action Fraud: you can check Action Fraud for the latest scams as well, you can also share any concerns with them prior to acting upon it.
  • If in doubt, wait, check and validate: if your customers have any misgivings, tell them not to act. Once they do and transfer over their bank details, their security has been breached and their finances are risk.
  • 159 service: 159 is the new 999 for financial fraud – if you’re worried about getting in touch directly with your bank.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to check, check and check again when receiving emails of this nature. Scammers are targeting people daily, so we all need to be wise to it. And for banks, retailers and other customer organisations? It is also your moral obligation to try and help your customers safeguard themselves from these criminals.

To find out how we can help your business in the fight against financial crime, please email alastair.lauder@p2consulting.com or call +44 (0) 20 7099 0803.


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