No, you have not been granted a loan by mistake: Santander warns its customers of a scam | Companies

No, you have not been granted a loan by mistake: Santander warns its customers of a scam | Companies
No, you have not been granted a loan by mistake: Santander warns its customers of a scam | Companies

“Hello María José, my name is Anás from Santander Group customer service. We urgently inform you that today, November 6, 2023, you have been granted an erroneous loan of €4,843.38 in your account ending in 3920.” Many clients of the entity chaired by Ana Botín have received these types of messages and they are part of a scam. For this reason, the bank has started an awareness campaign for its clients, warning them of this situation and giving some advice on how to act if they encounter any of these fraudulent communications.

The loan cancellation scam begins with an attack of smishingor in other words, the sending of misleading text messages by cybercriminals pretending to be from the bank to induce victims to share personal or financial information. Santander explains on its website that, in this message, they will make you believe that you have been awarded a loan by mistake and that, to cancel it, you only have to make a transfer of the deposited money or they will ask you for data such as a complete signature key or your electronic signature. This is a first element to take into account, since the bank will never request the complete electronic signature and access key. If they are requested in full when logging in, that login is fraudulent.

In addition to requesting this data, they may also have obtained a call forwarding from the client’s mobile phone, also using the smishing, by making the victim enter the code *21* followed by a phone number, under the pretext that it is a way to have more secure communications. With this they make the calls that the bank would make to the client be diverted to the cybercriminals, allowing them to confirm the operations with the voice bot Santander. Once cybercriminals have obtained the data they need, they can request a pre-approved loan from the client. Thus, if the client logs into their online banking, they will see that they do indeed have a loan in their name that they had not requested.

This is when they contact the client again to inform him that due to a computer error he has been granted a loan: they will give details of the total amount, the opening fees, the interest and the number of installments, as well as the victim’s account number in which the money has been deposited, thanks to the fact that with the first attack of smishing have managed to access all of that data.

As a solution, scammers ask the victim to transfer the money deposited and thus cancel the loan granted by mistake. In reality, what the client is doing is transferring that money directly to the cybercriminal. For this reason, Santander stresses that clients should bear in mind that they never request this type of refund, nor will they make calls or send alarming messages that ask the client for their private data in a hurry and insistently.

Tips to avoid this type of fraud

The bank recommends a series of good practices so that its clients are not affected by the smishing:

  • Change passwords and digital keys from time to time. Even more so if the client receives a suspicious SMS to prevent the fraud from getting worse.
  • Activate the “Santander Key” verification system, which protects the account with the customer’s fingerprint.
  • Never provide private data to access or operate online banking through calls or messages. The bank never requests this type of information in full.
  • If the customer finds a loan in his or her account that he or she has not requested, it is essential that he or she does not follow the instructions in any call or message and contacts the bank through its customer service department to report it.

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