An AIB customer has told how scammers charged his account for up to €15,000 after calling him and tricking him into reading a code from a bank card reader.
Iall Fitzmaurice, 31, who lives in Dublin, thought the bank was calling about fraudulent transactions and needed him to insert his card into the small device and tell them the digits on the screen.
However, he said he believes the scam started earlier, when crooks hacked into his account after clicking on an innocent-looking text message agreeing to AIB’s new terms and conditions.
“I saw it on the phone and there were other real texts from AIB before that, and I might have clicked on it and closed it again, but I don’t think I agreed to any terms or anything,” Mr Fitzmaurice said.
“The hackers then appear to have been able to break into my accounts and move funds.
The person was able to confirm my details and tell me some of the transactions I made over the weekend and how much I spent. It was very convincing
“I’m saving for a house and all my savings were in it – everything I’ve put aside for the past few years – but they didn’t seem to be able to take anything at the time.
“Then on Monday I got a call from a Dublin number and the person said they were from AIB and there was suspicious activity on my account.
“I thought it might be a scam so I googled the number and it came up as an AIB number so I thought it was legit.
“And the person was able to confirm my details and tell me some of the transactions I made over the weekend and how much I spent. That was very convincing.”
The scammers then tricked Mr Fitzmaurice into inserting his card into the calculator-like reader that AIB sends customers to authorize online transactions such as transferring money to another account.
“Actually, I thought I’d be glad I had the card reader in a drawer,” he said. “The person on the phone even said not to give out my PIN, which gave me extra peace of mind, but it was the number generated by the card reader they were looking for.”
The scam works by convincing the victims that the scam was prevented and their account is safe, but the criminal uses the code from the card reader to empty the victim’s bank account by transferring all the funds.
On Tuesday, Mr. Fitzmaurice received a call from a real AIB employee to say there was unusual activity on his account. During this conversation, he learned that the previous day’s call was from hackers.
He said 10,000 to 15,000 euros had been withdrawn from his accounts. AIB told him it could reverse many of the transactions and have his money returned to him, but he was shocked at how convincing the scammers had sounded.
Mr Fitzmaurice said he was very cautious and was usually the one to alert and advise older members of his family regarding online scams.
“Never think you’re too smart to fall for a scam — I thought so,” he said.
“And remember that calling you may not be the start of the scam. The hackers may already be 10 steps ahead of you as they have obtained your transaction details to convince you it is a real bank call.
“And just because they know your details and are calling from what looks like a bank number doesn’t mean they’re a real bank.
“Hang up and call your bank using a number you found out yourself.”
AIB has warned of scammers stealing money from bank accounts by tricking customers into reading codes generated by bank card readers.
Constant messages from banks asking people not to reveal their PINs and other details has prompted scammers to find different ways to gain access to accounts.
The card reader is now being used as a tool to scam people as some customers believe the devices are directly connected to their bank.
Scammers call victims and panic them, but then say they can help cancel their cards and set up new ones.
The scammers do not ask for PIN details, but rather ask the victim to insert their card into the reader and read the generated code.
AIB customers are the target of the latest scam, but scammers can target any bank.
An AIB spokesman said the bank is committed to protecting customers from the threats associated with fraud and said customers can visit aib.ie/security-center for details on current customer security threats and alerts they should be aware of.
“Very sophisticated scammers target people by sending text messages claiming to be AIB and/or other legitimate companies,” the spokesman said.
“AIB never sends links in unsolicited text messages or emails requesting online banking and card details, or requesting the return of a card.
“We urge our customers to be vigilant at all times and never click on any link that appears in a thread and reveal their information.
“We urge our customers to contact us as soon as possible if they believe they have been the victim of a scam. By promptly contacting us, AIB can endeavor to prevent the processing of a fraudulent payment.
“In many cases we have achieved a positive result for customers. Unfortunately, in some cases it may be too late and the scammers have already received the payment.
“If customers have been scammed, we will treat them sympathetically on a case-by-case basis. To date, we have a strong track record of protecting our customers from fraud.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/crime/dont-think-youre-too-savvy-to-fall-for-a-scam-criminals-are-10-steps-ahead-says-victim-of-fraudsters-posing-as-aib-41952323.html “Don’t think you’re too smart to fall for a scam — criminals are ten steps ahead,” says a scammer posing as AIB