Warning after young mum hit by ‘convincing’ bank fraudster

Fraud victim Chelsea Cowie with her son Jaxson.
Fraud victim Chelsea Cowie with her son Jaxson.

A young Kirkcaldy mum who was the victim of a convincing fraudster has warned residents to be on their guard.

Chelsea Cowie (21) was hit by the complicated bank fraud, and was initially left wondering how she will pay the rent.

The caller on Thursday afternoon told Chelsea they may have to close down her account and online banking facility, which led to her being asked to move £560 into “a virtual account”.

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She said: “The man called and claimed to be part of the TSB Fraud Team, and he told me he was going to cancel my cards and online banking, and told me to change my online banking details.

“He was texting confirmation codes and it was coming up as ‘TSB bank’ so it was believable.

“He told me the accounts would be closed and blocked so I needed to transfer my money into a virtual account which was in my name.”

Chelsea said the sophisticated scam had a worrying amount of information, which made him seem more credible.

She said: “The person who called me knew my full name and address, it seemed so believable and it’s so scary how they have all this information.

“So I transferred £560 into this virtual account, which was in my name.”

Chelsea initially thought the issue had been dealt with on Thursday, but soon found what had happened.

she said: “He said he’d setup an appointment for me on Monday at my nearest branch of TSB.

“So I waited until Monday, it was supposedly at 1pm and they were shut for lunch break. I went home and gave them a phone and explained to them what happened.

“They told me to come back into the bank right away.

“I contacted the TSB fraud team whilst in the bank.”

The TSB then began an investigation, and Chelsea initially had fears over how she was going to pay her rent and bills, but the bank has now refunded the money.

The bank said earlier this week that it will repay any of its customers who have been victims of fraud, a first for UK banking.

A TSB spokesperson said: “Sadly this customer was the victim of a sophisticated scam over a period of time. We have looked into her case and she has been fully refunded.

“If a customer has previously been a victim of fraud, or if they believe their account details have been compromised, we thoroughly recommend they change all of their internet banking details, including user names and passwords, to re-secure their accounts.”

The TSB encourage any customers to call them if they have any concerns about an email they have received.

They advise customers not to click on any links in an SMS message they receive claiming to be TSB.

If in doubt, hang up and call the number of the back of your card.

Top ten tips to protect yourself from fraud:

• Take your time – always stop and think about what you are being asked to do. Take your time and don’t let anyone rush you – genuine advisors will never be pushy. We will always give you time to think.

• Reality check – ask yourself ‘would my bank or the police really ask me to do that?’ If in any doubt, call your bank on the number on your card and ask for the fraud team, they will be happy to help.

• Keep your account to yourself – people who get access to your computer, laptop, tablet or phone could access your accounts. If someone contacts you out of the blue and asks to access your computer remotely, they could be a fraudster.

• Ask an expert – make sure you seek independent or impartial advice before making any kind of investment. Your bank will always be happy to help you spot a potential scam – so just ask.

• If in doubt, call them back – appearances can be deceptive. If you have any concerns, put the phone down and call the organisation back on the number listed on their website or, if it’s your bank, use the number on the back of your card.

• If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is – incredible returns, guaranteed riches, low risks, something for nothing? Fraudsters like to tempt you. If it seems like easy money, be sure to check the fine print.

• Speak to friends or family first – telling someone else about any plans or proposals will help you think things through. Those closest to you have your best interests at heart. If they have concerns, you may want to reconsider.

• Stay safe online – when paying online, look for the padlock security symbol in the address bar. This means the site is secure and your payment is protected. If you use sites like eBay, never make payments outside their process.

• Scam accounts – some fraudsters might scare you and tell you to send money to a ‘safe account’ or a ‘police account’. Your bank would never ask you to do this – these kinds of accounts are always scams.

• If in doubt… – whatever your concerns, however small, simply call the number on the back of your bank card and ask to speak to the fraud team. They will be able to help you and give you advice.

Things your bank will never ask for:

• They will never ask a customer for their PIN, password or full memorable information.

• They will never ask a customer to click on a link in an email that takes you to a page which asks you for your username, password or any other information.

• They will never ask a customer to email or text us PINs, card details or passwords.

• Customers should not click on any links in emails if they have any concerns.