Businesswoman’s savings stolen in sophisticated HSBC scam

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A businesswoman has told how she was drained of her savings after being scammed. Dog trainer Millie from Sussex was already suffering the financial implications of the coronavirus crisis when she was targeted in a sophisticated number spoofing plot.

During the pandemic, she received a text from what she thought was 02, her mobile operator. The message claimed that they had not processed his last invoice and asked him to click on the link provided to re-enter his details.

While the 02 website the link directed her to seemed realistic, Millie went ahead and entered her personal details, as reported by the Daily Express. A few days later, she received a phone call from someone she thought was a member of HSBC’s anti-fraud team. They told her that someone had tried to charge her card automatically.

In a bid to reassure her it was her bank, the scammers quoted Millie’s card number and personal details so she would believe it was actually a bank employee . She was also convinced that the number they called matched the number on the back of her credit card.

The scammers convinced Millie that her account had been compromised and suggested that she transfer her money to a secure account to prevent people from trying to steal her money. They didn’t stop there, they also convinced her to transfer the funds from her business account to the secure account as well.

Speaking on the BBC show Dirty Rotten Scammers, Millie said: ‘I had £500 in my business account which was really the only money left and that was what my clients had raised to maintain the club afloat so that we could pay our living expenses as we had. no income. They took that and I think about £22,500 in total at the end.

Millie was oblivious to what had happened until she received a text from her bank saying her account was overdrawn. She immediately called the bank and started asking questions.

Millie continued: “They said, ‘that wasn’t us’ and then it clicked. I just burst into tears. I just sobbed and thought, ‘Oh no, what am I going to TO DO?’ “

Millie had been evacuated and was penniless. She had to borrow money from her mother, but due to social distancing it was difficult. She added: “I had to go to mum’s just to get money to buy food and she couldn’t hug me. It was awful.

“I’m in her driveway sobbing and she can’t even hug me because of the social distancing rules. It was quite traumatic because you couldn’t talk to anyone or see anyone.

David Callington, head of fraud at HSBC, has suggested some key things Britons can do to avoid falling victim to this scam. He said: “If you have any concerns, just call us back on the number on the back of the card.

“Wait 10 minutes or call back using another number. If someone calls you and asks you to transfer money to a secure account, or asks you for a one-time password to access your online banking or make an online payment, it’s not is not the bank.

“Hang up right away. Banks will never do that.“

Dirty Rotten Scammers is available on BBC iPlayer.

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