Social Media Can Make Bank Customers Susceptible To Scams


Unintentionally making themselves targets for scammers, customers may become vulnerable to fraud by complaining to banks on social media when systems crash. After problems with an information technology migration locked thousands of clients out of accounts at the U.K.’s TSB, for example, the bank saw attempted fraud rise up to 70 times, Reuters reported.

Though a person close to the bank’s investigations into the frauds said it’s hard to tell how criminals find account information, social media activity can present a problem. In cases where accounts are comprised, customers often give up their information and “a lot of that is entirely voluntary through social media,” the person told Reuters.

Redscan Director of Cyber Security Mark Nicholls told Reuters, “Consumers or people are always going to be the weakest link, so if they can find ways to attack the customer … then they will go after that.”

The news comes as TSB faces criticism as customers report funds stolen from their accounts. Reports in the BBC said TSB’s fraud alert system isn’t working for some online banking customers. One customer told BBC Radio 4’s “You and Yours” that TSB said it was unable to warn her about fraudulent activity because fraudsters changed the customer’s contact details. The financial institution also acknowledged that it failed to identify some fraudulent withdrawals from her account.

“We have in place sophisticated systems, which are designed to spot fraudulent activity. However, these transactions were not flagged by the system,” TSB wrote to the customer. “We are unable to explain why, but please be assured that we continually update and improve our systems to improve their detection rates.”

The bank refunded the customer the full amount with additional funds, but the customer said those refunds were also reportedly stolen. Additionally, TSB head Paul Pester had said that experts from IBM have been called in and will report “directly” to the chief, adding that the bank is still not entirely sure how the glitch happened.