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 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.”
Do companies really want a more sustainable world?
Yes, the success of our Sustainable Business Ateliers is good proof of that. Most companies are aware of their social responsibility, but some are in need of information. To help them on their way, BNP Paribas Fortis organises regular regional Sustainable Business Workshops. Last year, our bank organised two pilot sessions in Liège and Limburg and more recently it was the turn of Namur, Gits (in West Flanders) and Ghent. Other Belgian cities will be announced soon.
During the Sustainable Business Workshops the invited clients are inspired by the experts from our Sustainable Business Competence Centre, and by other clients who speak about the actions they have already taken with their business.
After the presentations, participants are divided into groups and share experiences led by a moderator.
How do clients rate them?
Feedback from the participants revealed that the focus on cooperation and networking opportunities are the greatest advantages of the Workshops. Those attending always include representatives of small, medium-sized and large businesses from a variety of sectors - a diversity which participants find highly enriching. After all, no single company can overcome all of the present challenges on its own. Companies will not only have to cooperate with one another, but also with the government, universities, startups, etc. to make progress.
According to the participants, BNP Paribas Fortis is also the only financial service provider that goes great lengths to support companies in the area of sustainable business, by analysing at which stage of the sustainable business path the companies are and by guiding them to use sustainability as an opportunity for their activities.
Do you want to participate in one of our Sustainable Business Workshops? Please contact your Relationship Manager for the practical details.
Not a client yet? And do you want to know more about the guidance we offer and the benefits of sustainability for your company? Discover what our Sustainable Business Competence Centre can do for you.
Solvay links the cost of credit to a reduction in greenhouse gases
Solvay has agreed new terms in an existing €2 billion revolving credit facility, linking the cost of credit to a reduction in greenhouse gases. Solvay concluded this positive incentive agreement with its syndicate of nine banks. BNP Paribas Fortis is acting as Sustainability Coordinator and agent bank to Solvay’s long-term banking partners.
Solvay announced in September 2018 a commitment to cut greenhouse gases from its own operations by 1 million tonnes by 2025 relative to 2017 levels. The Group intends to achieve this reduction by further improving energy efficiency, energy mix and by investing in clean technologies. “We seek to integrate sustainability into all key aspects of our business, including financing. Associating Solvay's ambitious greenhouse gas emissions target to the cost of credit is a logical step. The successful teaming up with our banks shows that the way towards more sustainability is a collective effort," said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Solvay.
“I am proud that Solvay has mandated BNP Paribas Fortis to introduce a Positive Incentive Loan mechanism that supports Solvay’s ambitions in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This innovative solution is a clear example of how we and the syndicated banks we represent aim to serve our clients in terms of value creation. Collaboration between banks and clients is key in driving the economy forward to a more sustainable future,” said Max Jadot, CEO of BNP Paribas Fortis.