The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s (NFIB) Proactive Intelligence Team has become aware of customer services and banking hall staff in retail bank branches being befriended and “groomed” by fraudsters over long periods of time in order to access to personal account data.
The intelligence gathered by the NFIB highlights that after being identified by fraudsters, staff are being monitored during their days off and then befriended over a long period of time.
An ex bank employee and now convicted fraudster who is currently serving a prison sentence, has told the NFIB’s Proactive Intelligence Team how he was groomed into giving out customer information.
The ex bank employee said: “I used to see them at my local market and they would come up to me and start chatting. It’s quite unusual for people to start chatting to you but because of the job we do I guess we are outgoing and approachable. They were nice people. I had no idea they were fraudsters. This went on for a few months before they asked me to do anything. They were really clever and over time they got to know more about me personally”.
Typically the fraudsters look to exploit the staff member by either offering a financial lump sum for the account information but also by exploiting disgruntled or unhappy staff.
The information they require from the staff member is usually customer profile information such as birthdays and maiden names. The fraudsters already have the account number details.
I had no idea that I could go to jail for this
The ex bank employee went on to tell the NFIB: “I had worked for the bank for a few years and maybe I was a bit demoralised. That’s no excuse but I think that over time the fraudsters knew this and tried to exploit me”.
“I think that if the awareness training around this was more robust and “streetwise” then this could be avoided and I wouldn’t be in prison. I had no idea that I could go to jail for this. I don’t think people realise how serious fraud by abuse of position is. If more people knew that they could go to jail for a couple of years then staff might think twice about getting involved”.
If you believe you are being groomed by a fraudster, please let your employer know immediately and call the police on 101.
To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.
You can now also sign up for free to Action Fraud Alert to receive direct, verified, accurate information about scams and fraud in your area by email, recorded voice and text message.