Take Five to stop fraud
Received a phone call, text or email asking for your personal or financial information? If so, what do you do? Before you act, stop. Take a moment to assess the situation.
The information below should help you work out whether that request is legitimate.
How to protect yourself
Alexis Conran, star of The Real Hustle, explains the five ways you can protect yourself.
Never give out your security details (such as your PIN or full banking password)
A genuine bank or organisation will never ask you for these in an email, on the phone or in writing. Consider what you’re being asked for. Question why they need it. If you aren’t 100% sure who you’re talking to, don’t give them your personal or financial details.
Don't assume an email, text or phone call is authentic
Even if someone seems to know your basic details, it doesn’t mean they’re genuine. In an attempt to gain your trust, fraudsters may claim you’ve been a victim of fraud. They often do this to get you talking, then try and persuade you into giving them your security details.
Don’t be rushed, or pressured, into making a decision
No genuine bank or trusted organisation will, under any circumstances, force you to make a financial transaction on the spot. Neither would they ask you to transfer money into another account for reasons relating to fraud. If you’re asked to do this, then stop and consider what they are asking you.
Listen to your instincts
Does a situation feel wrong or strange? If so, it’s usually right to question it. Fraudsters will try to manipulate you: they’ll try and lull you into a false sense of security when out and about, or rely on your defences being down when you’re at home. They’ll try to appear trustworthy, but they may not be what they appear.
Stay in control
Be confident. It’s always okay to stop a conversation. You can always refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information.
Learn more about fraud here
Fraud over the phone – or vishing – is when a fraudster calls claiming they’re from your bank or another trusted organisation, often under the pretence that there has been fraud on your account. They can fake the telephone number they use, to make it look like your bank is calling. They will often have researched basic information about you before they call too. This can make them seem convincing.
Remember though, a genuine bank will never ask you for personal financial details (like your PIN number) or full banking password (even by typing it into your phone keypad), or ask you to transfer money directly to them.
Online fraud covers every kind of fraud, from online shopping to online banking. To help protect yourself online, install the security software and updates that most banks and browsers offer. These can help protect you against fake pop-ups in your online banking window, ‘scam alert’ messages that hide malware or false retail websites that ask for your financial details
Sometimes called ‘phishing,’ fraudsters may contact you by email to try and get your details. They usually claim they need to verify, or update, some information, or reactivate your account. Email addresses can easily be faked, so always be suspicious of unsolicited emails claiming to be from your bank, or any other trusted organisation. Never click on a link contained in an email without first checking that they seem genuine.
‘Smishing,’ as it is sometimes called, is when a fraudster pretends a text message is from your bank, or another organisation you trust. They will usually claim there has been fraudulent activity on your account and will ask you to deal with it by calling a phone number or visiting a website. Both will probably be fake and designed to gain your personal and financial details. Remember to stop and think before calling any numbers or visiting a suspicious link: any data you enter will be captured by them.
Fraudsters can often find out business invoice details (right down to payment dates) and will then pose as a supplier for that business. They do this to try to trick you into paying them. If a supplier contacts you about changing their payment details, always check it with them using their on-file contact details. Checking invoices and calling suppliers can prevent fraudulent transactions.
If you get an email from your CEO, or another senior member of staff, asking you to make an urgent payment outside of normal procedures, don’t automatically do it. It’s become very easy for fraudsters to manipulate the characteristics of an email, including the sender’s address, so that it looks genuine. But when you transfer that money, it goes straight to an account controlled by a fraudster. Keep an eye out for emails written in an unusual style, and always check any unusual payment requests directly, ideally in person or by telephone, to confirm the instruction is genuine.
What to do if you’re a victim of fraud
If you think that you may have revealed your security details, fallen victim to fraud, or notice any unusual activity on your account, please contact us immediately on:
If you have seen a scam email claiming to be from us, please let us know by forwarding it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Take Five is a national campaign that offers straightforward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud. This includes email deception and phone-based scams as well as online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.
Led by Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), it is being delivered with and through a range of partners in the UK payments industry, financial services firms, law enforcement agencies, telecommunication providers, commercial, public and third sector. Visit: takefive-stopfraud.org.uk for more information about Take Five and which partners are involved.