Santander warns of way scammers use a ‘legitimate app’ to access your account information

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Santander is warning Britons of “social engineering” – a fraud tactic that makes victims share personal information or perform actions that benefit the scammer without knowing. Scammers wanting to seem more genuine may even utilise legitimate apps to do this.

It can be difficult for some victims to recognise that they are in a social engineering scam until it’s too late.

Generally this is because the fraudsters appear quite genuine and trusting, using sophisticated techniques and technology to do so.

Santander warns: “Criminals use sophisticated techniques, invoking fear, panic or building a friendship.”

Usually, these manipulative techniques are aimed to make the victim do something they wouldn’t normally take action on.


This can include:

  • Sending a payment without verifying the account
  • Allowing the scammer access to their devices
  • Giving personal or security information.

Social engineering is a versatile scam tactic that can occur over the phone, online or even in person.

Santander notes that fraudsters impersonate trusted, genuine companies or individuals, such as a victims’ bank, the police or even personal friends or family members.

One example of a social engineering scam is remote access scams.

These scams will usually see the fraudster impersonating official organisations, persuading victims to give them remote control of their personal computer.

Santander cautions: “They do this by asking you to download a legitimate app such as TeamViewer or AnyDesk, or by simply getting you to click on a link.

“You should never allow remote access to your devices unless you have verified that the caller is genuine and trusted.”

Santander continues, noting that if a victim happens to grant access to the scammer they should never open banking apps or windows.

This is because remote access provides the scammer with full view and access to one’s computer screen.

Another common tactic for social engineering is using emails, text or phone calls that appear very real.

Santander warns: “Never reply or act on anything without verifying that it’s from a legitimate source.”

In some cases banks may not be able to refund a victims’ lost money if they did not take necessary precautions to avoid becoming a victim in the first place.

People who believe they may have fallen victim to a scam are urged to contact their bank or building society as soon as possible and report it to Action Fraud.

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