16th August 2023

Detect and thwart three common financial scams

No, scams and fraud aren't something that only happens to other people. Sometimes, all it takes is a long, stressful day to make you forget to check if an e-mail, text or call you received was legitimate... And then it's too late! We don't want you to fall for it, so here's an article on three types of financial scam with advice on how to avoid the trap. Happy reading!

Scams and how they work

The most common kind of scam involves identity theft. The possibilities are endless, there can be various different approaches, and they are not something to be ignored! It's a scammer's bread and butter, and it's a real problem for citizens and banks alike. Here are three types of scam, how they work and what you need to look out for.

1. Bank phishing

When it comes to banking scams, we often hear about phishing, although there are many others too, including smishing*, vishing*, clone phishing*, whaling*, pharming*, and more.

The most widespread cyber threat in the world, the goal here is to trick recipients of fraudulent e-mails into entering sensitive personal information (account details, password, credit card number, etc.) on a fake banking site. The site will look exactly like the original (same logo, same design, etc.), and the pretext is usually an emergency claiming that your account or card will be frozen if you don't take immediate action.



Instead of clicking on the link in a message, go to your browser and type the URL of your banking site yourself. This way, you can make sure you access the real page, since sometimes, links can be hidden in a way that your eyes can't detect, leading somewhere other than advertised. You should also always check the sender's e-mail address. Occasionally, you'll see strange addresses under a common name (such as the name of your bank) that might look right when, really, they're not.


Spuerkeess will never ask you for your PIN code, online banking details or other sensitive information via a form, text message or over the phone. If you lose your card, read our Information & help.


Smishing: A social engineering attack that uses fake text messages to trick people into downloading malware, sharing sensitive information or sending money to cybercriminals.

Vishing: Also known as "voice phishing", cybercriminals use social engineering techniques via phone calls to persuade victims to share personal information so they can access a bank account.

Clone phishing: A type of phishing attack that copies the look, feel and content of a legitimate message in an attempt to earn the recipient's trust. A clone phishing e-mail is often indistinguishable from an authentic one.

Whaling: A highly targeted phishing and digital fraud attack (directed at high-level executives) masquerading as a legitimate e-mail. This type of social engineering attack encourages victims to perform a certain action, such as a bank transfer.

Pharming: This type of online fraud is a two-pronged attack. First, a hacker installs malicious code on the victim's computer or server. Then, this code will send the victim to spoofed websites in an attempt to steal his data and login information.

2. Investment fraud

From ads to search engines and social media, there are all kinds of places that investment scams could be hiding. Once directed to the fake investment site, you'll be shown incredible returns illustrated with pretty graphs to make you think it's a reliable platform. It will feel like you simply must invest in this "green" fund or that equity, or purchase some cryptocurrency or other at a low price with huge returns.

Beware! If the offer looks too good to be true, it's bound to be a scam.

However, once you've paid as instructed, your money will be sent straight to an offshore account… never to be seen again! But you'll find that out soon enough.

Of course, the curve will show your investment is performing nicely. With your holidays coming up, it's only natural that you'd want to reap the benefits to spend on a sunny getaway. Only… all of a sudden the site starts experiencing technical issues and customer support is nowhere to be found. Well, you can kiss your investment goodbye. You've been scammed!



Never invest your money in any companies without first making sure they exist and that they can be trusted. Also pay attention to the kind of language being used – when it comes to investment, nobody can guarantee a substantial gain in a short amount of time. Of course, there's always a chance, but how many times have you actually hit the jackpot on the lottery?


Rather than following the advice of an influencer on Instagram, put your faith in your bank when it comes to growing your savings. Nowadays, innovative banks are offering 100% online and 100% reliable investment solutions. For example, Spuerkeess offers Speedinvest: an automated investment tool available from EUR 500 upwards. It's integrated within S-Net web banking, so you can access it safely and securely. No more scams!

Visit the police website to find out more about this type of fraud.

3. Shock calls

There's been a serious accident and you need to pay bail ASAP (Shock Calls - video below)… Someone calls pretending to be a family member (Grandson Scam)… You get a call claiming you've won the jackpot (Lottery wins)… These are all reasons to be suspicious! The person on the other end might sound sincere, but he's actually an expert scammer who knows exactly how to play the sympathy card to get your attention.


Granny, please, I have to pay these people EUR 50.000 or they'll keep coming after me… You're my only hope!

Find out the police recommendations in case of shock calls.



First of all, over the phone there's no way you can verify the real identity of the person on the other end of the line. And he'll often make sure you don't hang up before he gets what he wants. He won't even give you a chance to check if what he's saying is true. He'll make you feel so distressed that you get flustered and fall for it.


If in doubt, contact your Spuerkeess branch and/or the police.

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