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New Banking Scam Warning

Don't let them steal your money

I use Starling bank for both my business and personal use. I also recommend this bank to all my clients. There are 3 main reasons for this:

  1. Being fully digital, you can sign up and become a customer without going to a bank

  2. Their customer service really is second to none

  3. The easy to use app for payments on the move

Over the last few months, a few incidents happened and I'm now adding a new reason to the list, my security because having your money stolen is not fun.

Starling has a facility on their banking app called 3d Secure. This facility is used to increase security against online fraud. For those who are unfamiliar with this facility, when you purchase an item from a 3D Secure online page, you will get a notification on your phone or email. It will ask you to authorise payments made by your card.

Last week a notification came up on my phone to authorise payment of £750 for gift vouchers from my business account. I did not make this purchase or did any of the team. I rejected this payment and followed the options on the app to alert the bank that this was a transaction I did not make.

At the same time as this was coming through, I received some calls from an unknown number but did not answer them as I was focused on the banking app. About an hour later, the same thing happened, but this time, asking for £1k for the same gift vouchers. Again simultaneously my phone started ringing with a no caller ID again. I would have missed the bank notice if I had not been glancing at my phone. I thought for a moment this might be the bank so I answered and sure enough, the conversation went as follows:

Caller: Hi, this is Starling Bank. We believe there may have been some fraudulent activity happening on your account today but thankfully we managed to stop this first one from going through. However, this second transaction has been paid but we are calling to make sure you get this back. All we need you to do is approve this payment. After that, we will be able to trace it and return these funds to your bank as soon as we can.

Me: Would you like me to increase the payment and maybe do another £1k transaction?

Caller: I am unsure what you mean. We are just trying to help make sure this money is returned to you as quickly as possible as this is a time-sensitive situation. We will need you to accept this payment in case your payment gets lost in the system.

Me: You are obviously not Starling but a thieving little BEEP.

The phone then went dead and I went onto the starling app and rejected the payment again notifying them I did not make the payment, I called Starling and they confirmed that it was not them, and they quickly stopped by card and issued a new one. Then about an hour later, I got another notification on my phone from Starling letting me know that another £1k transaction had been tried using the old card details.

A few months prior I had been shopping and went to buy some coffee, my card was gone from my bag but I had only used it moments before in a shop so backtracked my steps to the shop who advised it was not there and they checked the security cameras, I had put the card back in my bag, so I went on to the starling app and locked my card meaning no other spending could happen. A few moments later, I received a notification that a purchase had been attempted in one of the nearby shops but had not gone through. I was flying the next day, and not having this card was an enormous inconvenience. I made my way to the shop, and at the cash desk, I showed the assistant the notification on my phone and explained the situation. There were two women at the till who initially denied any knowledge, but after promising not to press charges or take it any further, they returned my card.

I have now added all the bank cards to my wallets and have purchased a small card holder to put inside my bag. I feel these situations could have ended completely differently if I hadn’t been banking with Starling. I have spoken to a few people since this who have said that they or know someone who if they had received that call would have approved the payment - please be vigilant.


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