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Smart Tips on Verifying Bank Staff Identity

Smart Tips on Verifying Bank Staff Identity

Members of the public often receive calls, SMS messages or emails purportedly to be from bank staff. The defrauding tricks are multifarious. The fraudster may claim to offer low interest loan only to obtain guarantee fees by deception. Or the fraudster may declare that irregularities are found in the clients’ accounts and request them to reset their accounts by logging into a fake bank website, obtaining their online banking account information by deception.

To help members of the public distinguish genuine bank staff, SMS messages or email, please keep in mind the following two “Don’ts”:

  • Banks don’t ask for any sensitive personal information (including online banking login passwords or one-time passwords) through phone calls, emails or SMS messages.
  • Banks don’t notify anyone of account irregularities through pre-recorded voice messages.

Members of the public should verify the identity of the caller, email or SMS sender. Avoid simply relying on the calling number display to establish the true identity of the caller. When verifying the identity of the relevant bank staff, do not contact the bank with the phone number provided by the caller, in the SMS message or email. Members of the public should adopt the “two-step verification” below:

  1. Check the relevant banks’ hotline numbers on their respective official websites or on the back of your ATM/credit cards, or check the retail banks’ hotlines on the Hong Kong Association of Banks’ website. Call the corresponding bank to verify the identity of the callers purportedly from bank.
  2. After verifying the bank staff identity, the most prudent way for the customer to continue the process is to contact such bank staff with the phone number obtained from the bank.