A social media alert from a Marbella resident about a recent phone call from someone claiming to be from their bank set off alarm bells.

In this case, the call display made it appear that it had come from a bank (although it didn’t), and the person calling said that they had detected an attempt to withdraw money from a cash machine using the individual’s details.

The whole point of the exercise was to obtain confidential information, allowing them to access your account. If you have given this voluntarily, there is a chance that your bank will decline to refund any money stolen, so take heed.

A British-based organisation, UK Finance, represents some 250 banks and financial institutions worldwide and has warned strongly about this potential scam.

It confirms that individuals may receive an automated call claiming that a suspicious transaction has occurred on their account and needs to be verified.

The consumer is then invited to press a number on their phone to be taken through to a supposed agent who is, in fact, a fraudster.

Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime, UK Finance, said: “There has been a spike in cases involving automated calls from fraudsters pretending to be from your bank. People must remain vigilant and question any phone calls out of the blue, even if they state there has been fraud on your account.

“Fraudsters may already have some information about you, so don’t take this as confirmation that their approach is genuine. Never give out any personal information if you are at all suspicious. Instead, Take Five to stop and think, and then contact your bank directly on a number you can trust, such as the one on their official website.”

The fact is that no bank will ever contact you asking for your online banking password or your four-digit PIN or insist you transfer money to a new account to avoid fraud.

The best advice is to refuse to discuss personal matters with anyone who might call you unexpectedly and state that rather than talk to that person, you will reach your bank independently to discuss the matter. If they offer you a number to call, refuse and hang up.

Don’t forget that alongside direct calls, text messages purporting to be from your bank can also be the work of scammers, so if in doubt, always call your bank and ask them if the text is genuine.