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How hackers can pose as your email contacts to take your cash… and the banks will NOT refund you

UNSUSPECTING Brits are losing thousands of pounds in a sophisticated scam that leaves victims with little or no protection from their bank.

The scam goes like this. Fraudstersinfect a customers computer with a malicious software that allows criminals to spy on emails sent between them and a contractor (whether it be a builder, solicitor, or even a holiday booking firm).

Fraudsters are targeting people who transfer large amounts of cash by hacking their computers and emails

Hackers then wait until an email is sent from the contractor with their genuine bank details on it, for payment of a deposit or forcompleted work.

The crooks then send a spoof email to the victim fromthe supposed contractor with new, fake bank details. They will often say that the first bank details they sent were wrong, or were for an old bank account they no longer use.

Once the payment has been made, the money is quickly drained from the bank account by the fraudsters.

Because the transactions are often to solicitors for house deposits, the sums are large and often make up a persons life savings.

And the worst thing about it is that banks arent liable to pay up when victimslose their money.

In the past banks have said they cant pay because the mistake lies with the customer.

Banks are obligated to put a stop on the money once theyve identified it as fraud.

But by the time the case has been assessed it is often too late the criminals have drained all the cash from the account.

One victim told theDaily Mailhe lost almost 4,000 after receiving an email that he thought was from his builder asking for money for materials.

The email had come from his builders usual email address, as it had been hacked, so didnt appear suspicious.

But five days later he discovered his builders email account had been hacked and the money had been stolen. Neither hisown bank or the bank used by the crook would reimburse him.

Even when victims pick up on the fraud soonafter the transaction is made, it is often too late as the fraudsters take the money immediately.

They also often send the scam emails late on a Friday, giving themmore time to avoid detection as people are less likely to check their bank accounts over the weekend, and banks areless responsive at this time.

Because of this, the scam is also often dubbed theFriday afternoon fraud.

While fraud victims are usually refunded by banks if they arent at fault, people who transfer money to a criminals account even if they are unaware that they are doing this do not have the same protection because banks say the money has been handed overvoluntarily.

Holidaymakers have also been duped by this nasty scam, with a report by City of London Polices National Fraud Intelligence Bureau last yearrevealing that11.5million had been stolen by criminals from unsuspecting holidaymakers in 2015.

The scam occurs when families email holiday lettings agencies abroad and hackers intercept their transactions to get the payments sent to their own bank account.

The lettings agencies are none the wiser and the criminals make off with a large chunk of cash.For the holidaymakers, their trip is completely ruined.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, said:Fraudsters are unfortunately becoming more and more sophisticated, and are now even able to intercept emails or pose as legitimate contacts from our email address books.

Our advice would be to firstly ensure that your password is fit for purpose. Wed recommend using a password which is made up of random words, numbers and symbols thus preventing your inbox being compromised in the first place.

Whats more wed always recommend that you closely scrutinise emails that ask you for personal details, and particularly those that ask for payments even if these are from trusted contacts like banks or solicitors.

If youre unsure if an email requesting payment is genuine or not, why not call the company that has sent you the email and check. Whats more you could also try and arrange an alternative way of making your payment if the request has been made by a reputable organisation thus ensuring that any transactions are steered clear of your emails altogether.

Have you fallen victim to an email scam like this? Email me at [email protected]or call 0207 782 4394

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