The fake technician scam is not very well known. Yet it is currently one of the most widely used scams targeting SMEs in particular.
The story of Jean-Paul and Joëlle, whose company almost fell victim to the scam, shows how the fraudsters operate.
Jean-Paul: "We were contacted at around 4 o'clock on a Friday afternoon by a person identifying himself as Mr Lucas from BNP Paribas, who asked to speak to the accounting department. Joëlle, who is in charge of payments, took the call. Mr Lucas explained that the site on which we make our payments was set to migrate to a new version. Joëlle had to answer a number of different questions on our operating mode: manual transfer or file import, who handles validation, by which means, and so on".
"The reason I wasn't suspicious", adds Joëlle, "was that he was very well spoken, was very familiar with the software and had already called me a few months earlier. The number displayed was an 0800 number. Despite all his questions, he was very courteous and competent. He focused in particular on finding the best timing for the migration, to limit the impact as far as possible, since the service would be inaccessible for 48 to 72 hours, he explained.
Another technician, Mr Martin, called me concerning the migration. He sent me a link that would give him remote access to my computer. I clicked on the link and then he gave me a session code that I entered in the interface. This new technician spoke highly of the update. Together we checked the configuration of my tool: account statements, third-party management, upper limits, transfers. Before hanging up, he reminded me not to connect for three days and to make payments manually during the migration period."
"When Joëlle informed me on Monday morning that the BNP Paribas technician had told us not to connect for three days, I thought that sounded shady", explains Jean-Paul. "I immediately contacted my relationship manager. He told me straight away that this was a fraud attempt. He explained that migrations always take place on the weekend and that BNP Paribas never operates online for an update. We detected a fraudulent transfer of more than €300,000 to a foreign country! Fortunately, the bank was able to block the funds and we'll be reimbursed soon. I lodged a complaint the same day."
Signs to watch for
- Any operator offering assistance, a migration, a SEPA test, etc. on your payment tools, if you have not personally sought an intervention
- Questions on your tools or payment processes
- A link with which you are not familiar
- A request to obtain remote access to your computer (for example through a service like Goto Assist, ntrsupport.com, etc.)
- A request for you to carry out a transfer test
Protect your company and your employees!
- Contact your relationship manager through the usual contact channels to check the identity of anyone claiming to be a member of our teams.
- Do not give remote access to your computer to anyone whose identity you are unsure of: do not go to an internet site, do not click on a link.
- Never carry out any test at the request of a technician: do not add a third-party account, do not validate a transaction or remittance. Even on your own initiative, never carry out a test of more than €1.
- Never give any code to anyone (for example: a number generated by your wireless card reader, password, PIN code, etc.).
- Protect your computer network and PCs from intrusion and malware.
And in general, remind your employees of the following rule: if a stranger calls you, do not hesitate to interrupt the call on the pretext that you are unavailable. Take the person's contact details, hang up, then check the details or call the person back through the telephone switchboard.
Good to know
- BNP Paribas technicians are not supposed to contact you for any type of update, maintenance, tests, etc. unless you have personally requested the intervention of support teams.
- Fraudsters are very familiar with banking tools: they often know when servicing periods are scheduled, what commercial transactions are under way or even the name of your business manager.
- To take advantage of you all the more readily, the fraudster may make preliminary calls during which they provide assistance without swindling you.
- The fake technician does not necessarily claim to be someone from your bank: the fraudsters can also take on the identity of your software developer, of Microsoft, etc.
BNP Paribas Group, first quarter 2020 results
Excellent business drive in the quarter impacted by an unprecedented health crisis
The health crisis has had major repercussions on macroeconomic outlook and produced extreme shocks on the financial markets. After a quarter in line with the 2020 objectives of BNP Paribas, health crisis related developments had several major negative impacts on the first quarter 2020.
Commenting on these results, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Laurent Bonnafé stated:
“In response to the health crisis, the Group’s teams have mobilised around the world to contribute to the functioning of the economy and its financing. Our concerns have been to protect our employees who are fully mobilised to ensure banking services, to quickly implement solutions to support the financing of our corporate, institutional and individual clients, and to launch in all regions where we are present a plan for emergency donations to the hospital sector and organisations committed to assist vulnerable people.
At the end of a quarter supported by an excellent business drive, in line with its 2020 objectives, the results of BNP Paribas for the 1st quarter 2020 were impacted by the harshness of the health crisis. The good resilience of revenues and results despite this shock demonstrates the robustness of the Group’s diversified and integrated model. With all teams at BNP Paribas, whose I want to thank tireless commitment to serving customers and providing support to society, we will continue our efforts to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the economy and prepare for the future.”
Press Release: https://invest.bnpparibas.com/documents/1q20-pr-23455
Test it here: how sustainable is your organisation?
BNP Paribas Fortis' Sustainable Business Competence Centre (SBCC), which helps companies transition to a sustainable business model, has developed a test to help you determine your company's progress in achieving sustainability. You can set to work immediately with the results of this test.
As Belgium's largest bank, BNP Paribas Fortis wants to drive socio-economic development in our country. This development requires companies to transition to a sustainable business model. As this is not particularly straightforward, BNP Paribas Fortis wants to make its expertise available to its customers.
One of the SBCC's initiatives is a brand-new test aimed at corporates, SMEs and institutional customers. The test consists of 15 questions relating to the steps you need to take to become more sustainable: awareness, diagnosis, quick wins, business model and cooperation and innovation. Once you have finished the test, you will receive the results in your mailbox instantly.
The SBCC uses your answers to make practical recommendations for your journey towards more sustainable entrepreneurship. In addition, we have all the resources needed to guide you throughout your transition from start to finish:
- technological expertise in high-tech, ICT, biotech, medtech, clean and green tech, and more
- a network of companies and business associates
- financial products and services that facilitate the transition to a sustainable model
Is your organisation ready for a sustainable future?
BNP Paribas Group, second quarter 2019 results
The business of BNP Paribas was up this quarter in a context where economic growth remained positive in Europe but slowed down, implying expectations of a continued low interest rate environment.
Director and Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas, Jean-Laurent Bonnafé:
“BNP Paribas delivered in the first half an increase in net income at 4.4 billion euros. Revenues were up thanks to business growth in the operating divisions. Operating expenses were well contained and benefitted from the transformation plan, generating a positive jaws effect. The common equity Tier 1 ratio rose to 11.9%, illustrating the Group’s solid balance sheet. New digital experiences rolled out for customers are a success and the Group is actively executing its ambitious policy of engagement in society. I would like to thank all the employees of the Group for their dedicated efforts to achieve these good results. ”
BNP Paribas Group, first quarter 2019 results
The business of BNP Paribas was up this quarter for the three operating divisions with in particular a gradual upturn in the business of CIB. Economic growth slowed down in Europe but remained positive. After the crisis in the markets at the end of 2018, the market context remained lackluster at the beginning of the quarter, but improved towards the end of the period.
Director and Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas, Jean-Laurent Bonnafé:
“BNP Paribas delivered a good level of result this quarter, at 1.9 billion euros. Revenues were up thanks to business growth in the operating divisions with in particular an upturn in client business at CIB. Operating expenses were well contained and benefitted from cost saving measures, generating a positive jaws effect.”