BY JOHN ELLIS, FINANCIAL ADVISOR
I was off for a few days last week and on one of the days I received a supposed call from Revolut telling me that there was suspicious activity on my account – A total of €76 has been sent to an account in India, but they had reversed it and the funds were now back in my account. But they needed to confirm my details to complete the process. I quickly opened my app and there was the money in the account!
Luckily I had been listening to Liveline the day before where people recounted how they were scammed by the very call I was now experiencing. The caller asked for confirmation that I had consented to the transfer, purporting to helping me get the money back into my account. If I had said no then a process would unfold that would entail revealing my card numbers etc.
I said yes, I had consented, completely confusing the caller and he immediately hung up. But what was disturbing was how did the money get into my account in the first place, how did they link my mobile number with the account and, alarmingly, how did they move the money in and back out of my account again as I watched?
There are at least a thousand scam calls and texts to people each day in Ireland ranging from nuisance calls to determined efforts to fleece account holders. According to recent research by telecoms regulator ComReg, there were up to 89 million annoying/irritating communications and 31 million distressing communications with more than 5,000 businesses being victim of fraud after receiving scam calls and texts costing people a conservatively estimated €300 million a year.
New research commissioned by Revolut reveals that less than a third questioned said they were extremely confident that they could spot a scam. A total of 64% of consumers have noticed a rise in online fraud and scams in the past 12 months, with 46% admitting to personally experiencing fraud, and 47% knowing someone else who has done so in the past year. With one in 10 respondents saying they did not know of the methods individuals can use to protect themselves against scams, 6% said they would not be able to spot a scam generally, while 67% said they were only somewhat confident they would be able to detect a fraud.
On the basis of these findings, Revolut is taking a novel approach to raising its customers’ awareness of scams and help them defend themselves against fraudsters, with the launch of its new course. The course is free, and can be accessed in the Revolut app by heading to Home > Hub > Learn.
The course will include five lessons: an introduction to fraud, purchase scams, investment scams, impersonation scams, and account takeover fraud, and has been developed by Revolut’s in-house fraud experts, and covers the most prevalent types of fraud. Each lesson will include materials explaining the different types of fraud, how customers can protect themselves, and share examples of how these scams can take place, drawing on real-life examples. Customers can then test what they have learnt, completing the lesson.
Aaron Elliott-Gross, Head of Fraud and Financial Crime at Revolut, said: “Through the launch of our new in-app course on fraud, we aim to use education to empower our customers to feel more aware, more in control and better armed for action to spot criminals when they come across them online, on social media or over the phone.”
According to the company, they invest heavily to protect customers, with more than a third of their workforce working in a financial crime related role. The bank analyses every one of the 500m transactions its customers make every month for signs of fraud, and when its fraud model detects a scam risk, it intervenes and warns the customer.
But we the customers must be diligent in protecting ourselves from scams, so taking this free course would be one step in self-protection.