One in three Brits have allowed remote access to their computer without doing basic ID checks

26 Nov 2018 A third of Brits have knowingly given remote computer access to someone without performing basic checks to ensure they aren’t being scammed, research from Nationwide Building Society shows.

The poll of more than 2,000 people also highlights that while fraud prevention education is working, one in eight (13%) would give full login details to someone impersonating their bank or building society, if asked to via a phone call, email or text.

Remote access scams are hinged on convincing the victim that they have a computer or internet issue, with scammers claiming to be calling on behalf of well-known companies, including broadband providers and financial services providers. The caller will request remote access to ‘resolve the problem’ and then either download malware that will allow them to monitor use of the computer in the future, or instruct the victim to log on to their internet bank in order to help process a refund, therefore potentially giving them access to the victims’ online banking.

Nationwide commissioned the research to highlight the ways fraudsters are targeting people.  The poll reveals that some 32 per cent of people have allowed remote users access to their computer to help with an IT or broadband issue without challenging who they were. However, 18 per cent have ended such calls and checked independently who the caller was before going ahead with the caller’s request.

The poll found that men are potentially more willing to put themselves at risk, with more men reporting they had gone straight ahead with this type of call (35%), compared with women (29%).

The research also covered password scams.  Even though no financial services provider would ever ask a customer to tell them their full password, card reader passcode or text authorisation code, fraudsters do manage to convince people that that they should provide this information in full. Nationwide’s research showed that while one in eight (13%) would hand over this vital information if requested, the message about passcode security is getting through to people, as more than eight in ten (83%) stated they would not provide these security details in full.  The research also found that there are significant differences across the UK.

Older generations are much more likely to heed advice, with 96 per cent of those aged 55 and above saying they would refuse to hand over their security details in full. This compares with 68 per cent of 25-34-year-olds stating the same (in fact, this is the age group most likely to hand their details over, with 25 per cent admitting they would).

Stuart Skinner, Nationwide’s Director of Fraud, said: “Giving anyone remote access to your computer is risky without making checks first and even if you are convinced about who you are speaking to, there’s no reason to log onto your internet bank account to process a promised refund.

“We’d like to remind people that no financial services provider would ever call, email or text to ask for your full login or other password or security code details.  It’s vitally important people are sure of who they are dealing with and that they are legitimate.”

Nationwide’s Tips:

  1. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed into allowing remote access – be sure who you are dealing with and never log onto your internet bank account whilst giving remote access.
  2. No genuine financial services provider would ever call, text or email to ask you to provide your full password/passcode details or to move money to a ‘safe’ account.
  3. Nationwide offers fraud awareness events in branches across the country – visit your local branch to find out more.
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