Barclays 'chairman' scams his own bank

Fraudster poses as bank’s chairman, withdraws £10,000

Barclays bank in the UK has found itself at the centre of another security scam, this time around someone posed as the bank's chairman and scammed £10,000 out of his personal account.

The fraudster rang a Barclays call centre posing as the bank's chairman, Marcus Agius, and managed to have a new credit card sent out to him under Agius' name.

He then went into a Barclays branch and used the newly issued credit card to withdraw £10,000 out of Agius personal account.

Britain's Sun newspaper reported that Barclay's bosses were 'burning up' with embarrassment.

The scam follows the highly publicised actions of BBC Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, who published his Barclay's account number in an attempt to prove that the UK's largest ever data breach was nothing to fuss over.

A cheeky reader subsequently used the details to help Clarkson 'donate' £500 to a UK charity .

"The banks have to protect people connecting to their services, but if I know enough about you or anyone, you would be amazed what I could do," said Andreas Baumhof, CTO of online fraud protection company TrustDefender.

"If you've lost your account number or password for online banking, is your bank providing you with a service to recover those details? Every bank does, because it's a normal thing that happens," he said.

"They provide you with this information after checking your identity, which typically is your address, telephone number and some personal information. So if you know this information they will release your password."

With the right story and the right personal information, the security measures of any bank can be circumvented

Baumhof said call centres are a typical target of online fraudsters and identity thieves. Their tactics involve bombarding a call centre with phone calls, talking to a different person each time and extracting a little piece of information with each call.

"After they've rung them fifty times, you can connect a lot of information about someone," he warned.

According to Baumhof a lot comes down to telling the right story to the right person.

"In the end it comes down to human behaviour, if you look like you are in the right place at the right time then people tend to trust you."

Baumhof said that with the right story and the right personal information, the security measures of any bank can be circumvented because of this human element.

"The banks can provide really good secure protection but it only helps if we protect people's identities generally."

Barclay's is reported to have accepted liability for the breach and has reimbursed the £10,000 into Agius' account.

Amid fears other senior execs could become targets, the bank is reported to have reissued all passwords and is revising its security practices.

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Andrew Hendry

Computerworld
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