NBS warning about internet scams (business name misuse)

14. 04. 2020 | Information for the public

Národná banka Slovenska warns the public about the fraudulent activities of entities that use different pretexts (e.g. promise of an attractive financial prize, reward or high return on investments) to lure consumers into sending them money as payment of various fees or other costs.

Most frequently, these entities will target consumers on social networks by sending them attractive Internet links, advertisements or posts that promote the aforementioned prize or reward. Under the delusion of getting rich quick, consumers respond to such offers and are then asked (e.g. via email) to pay various fees prior to being sent the promised prize or reward; once the fees are paid, however, the promised funds are never transferred.

Activities of these entities usually appear very trustworthy. They may claim to work for a renowned bank or for a domestic or global company. In order to gain the trust of potential victims, they use websites that look similar to the websites of existing companies. We would like to point your attention to a warning published by the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regarding the fraudulent misuse of the Kleinwort Benson Bank Ltd business name. More information can be found at the following website: https://www.fca.org.uk/news/warnings/kleinwort-benson-private-bank-limited-clone-fca-authorised-firm

Fraudsters often use psychological duress and threats to make potential victims send ever more funds. To this end they rush consumers into paying the fees as soon as possible, claiming that the chance of receiving the prize or reward could be lost if they fail to act swiftly, etc.

Should you come across Internet advertisements or websites offering an attractive financial prize, reward or high return on investments, be cautious. We recommend you find out more about the company and its registered office or search the Internet for information on the company. You can also consult the website subjekty.nbs.sk in order to verify whether the entity in question is supervised by Národná banka Slovenska or by another foreign supervisor, and whether it is authorised to conduct business in Slovakia.

Please pay attention to the following signs that may help you to identify potential frauds:

  • when communicating with the company via email, its email domain should be identical to the company's name or its website (e.g. 123banka's email address should be meno.priezvisko[at]123banka.sk, etc.); if this is not the case, be cautious;
  • the information provided the company should not be contradictory in nature (e.g. a bank from country A asks you to send payments to country B, etc.); if this is the case, be particularly careful;
  • also be alert if the company's communication contains grammatical errors or if it appears to be an imperfect translation from a foreign language.

One last piece of good advice: If the offered prize, reward or inheritance sounds too good to be true, it probably is.