Being aware of common threats, knowing how they work and what to look out for can help to protect you against falling victim to fraud.
Here are some of the common techniques fraudsters attempt to use to trick you into giving away your personal information, banking details or even access to your computer.
Criminals will use a range of methods to contact you, typically through a text message or a telephone call. Once they’ve made contact with you, they will pose as a representative from a genuine organisation such as the Bank, the Police, a government department or a broadband and telecommunications company. They’ll try to persuade you to act, often with claims that there has been suspicious activity, that there has been a security compromise or that you are due a refund of some sort. Here’s some examples of tactics they’ll use;
The Police or Fraud Department – They may tell you there is fraud on your account and that you need to move your money to keep it safe. They may even say the need your help with an investigation, but not to tell us as it could be an internal issue.
HMRC – You must pay an urgent tax bill or face prosecution.
Broadband and telecommunication companies – Problems with your broadband or that your internet is compromised.
When criminals pose as these representatives they may try to coerce you in to downloading an app or software on to your mobile or computer which allows them to access your device. During the conversation, they’ll trick you and ask you to log in to your online bank account. Once you do this, the software you have downloaded allows them to take over your computer, enabling them to steal your money.
Remember these key tips;
Scam messages can be very convincing and are popular with fraudsters. Fraudsters will deliberately mimic the contact details of the Bank, Police or other trusted companies to hide their true identity.
Scam messages will often imply a sense of urgency encouraging you to act fast, e.g. to call a phone number included in a text message to stop a fraud payment or include a request for personal information, or banking details such as password or security credentials.
Scam messages can lead to you speaking to fraudsters. They may try to trick you into providing account security such as; verification codes or token codes to move money out of your account without you realising. Remember we will never ask you to provide verification codes or token codes over the phone.
Some scam messages will contain links or attachments which, if accessed, will take you to a fake website that prompts you for your online banking details. The fraudsters then use your details to access your account(s) and steal your money.
Accessing fake websites or opening attachments in scam messages may install malware, a type of malicious software. This steals information and can be so sophisticated that it can work in the background to move your money, or trick you into believing that you've been unsuccessful in logging onto your online banking page and prompts you to re-enter your security details, which the fraudster captures.
Fraudsters may even try to trick you into allowing them access to your computer to steal your money.
Out of the blue contact - Whether it's a phone call, email, text, social media message or on your doorstep, if the offer is unexpected it's likely to be a scam.
Tempting returns - If you're becoming enticed by a fantastic deal, 'guaranteed' to soar in value or make you money quickly, remember - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Risks played down - If there is no or little mention of the risks involved in the investment or they are quickly brushed over, be extremely cautious.
Repeated calls and pressurised to act fast - If you find yourself being continually contacted, pushed into making a rushed decision to part with your money or you're finding it difficult to end the conversation, then always STOP and THINK. Don't be afraid to put the phone down.
Recovery scams - If you've previously fallen victim to a scam, your details may be passed on or sold to other fraudsters. If you're contacted and offered help to recover your lost money and it involves you paying an upfront fee or investing more money then STOP - It's highly likely to be another scam.
If you are considering an investment, do as much research as possible before parting with any money.
If you think you may have fallen for a fraud scam or suspect that you are being offered a fraudulent investment please contact us immediately.
Out of the blue contact - No legitimate pension or investment firm will ever cold call you. If you receive an unsolicited approach, whether it's by phone, email, text or at your door step - it's likely to be a scam.
Phrases such as 'free pension review', 'retirement planning', 'government endorsed', 'cash bonus' or 'one off investment opportunity' - If you're suddenly contacted and these terms are used, hang up.
Access to your pension before the age of 55 - this may not only lead to you losing money because of a bogus investment but huge tax implications too.
Pushed to act fast - If you find you're being hurried into transferring your pension funds, making a quick decision or persistently being contacted, no matter how professional or convincing the individual or company seem always stop and think.
Tempting returns - If you're becoming enticed by a fantastic deal remember - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you're considering releasing your pension savings or moving it to an investment, do not go ahead until you are 100% certain that your money will be safe. Protect yourself by:
If you bank with us and think you may have fallen for a fraud scam please contact us.
Romance scams happen when fraudsters use fake online profiles through dating sites, chatrooms or social media to form a relationship. Once the fraudster wins your affection, confidence and trust, they'll pull on the emotional bond that you've developed and ask you for money.
All businesses, regardless of size, can become a victim of fraud. To protect your business from this threat always verify a request to change bank payment details. Contact your supplier directly using established contact details, before implementing the change or completing the payment.
If you hold a business account with us and think you may have fallen victim to an invoice redirection scam contact us immediately.
Fraudsters will do their research. They will often be aware of the detailed relationships between businesses and their suppliers and know when regular payments are due.
Fraudsters may attempt to intercept genuine invoices and change the bank payment details.
Alternatively, they may contact the business by telephone, email, letter or fax, posing as a trusted supplier to make a formal request to change the bank account payment details held.
If the business does not validate the change and settles the invoice, the funds go to an account that the fraudster has access to.
The fraudulent payment is then quickly transferred, often to outside of the UK, making the recovery of funds extremely difficult.
Often the business does not realise they have been scammed until the genuine supplier chases for non-payment, in some cases this can be weeks or even months later. At this point, it is virtually impossible for the business to get the stolen funds back.
Alternative reports of this scam have included fraudsters falsely claiming to be a senior member of a business, providing account details and instructing an urgent payment to be processed. If the business completes the request, the funds go to an account the fraudster has access to.
Any unexpected requests to change or update payment details for a regular supplier.
Whether made by telephone, email, letter, or fax, if your business is contacted ‘out of the blue’ to amend bank payee details always treat this as a potential warning sign.
Any unexpected, urgent payment requests made via email, text or fax, which supposedly appear to have been made by an internal senior member and provides account details.
If you hold a business account with us and have fallen for an invoice re-direction scam recently or may have received a fraudulent request, contact us immediately.
If you don’t bank with us and have lost money to an invoice re-direction scam report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 20 40 (Call Charges).
More information about protecting your business from fraud is available in the scams booklets below.
Information is also available by visiting the Financial Fraud Action website.
Fraudsters will contact you under the guise of working for authorised claim companies in an attempt to make their approach seem credible and genuine. They may also claim to be from the Financial Conduct Authority, the Claims Management Regulator or Ministry of Justice.
They will inform you that you are owed a refund from the mis-selling of PPI. Fraudsters will then ask you to make a payment to them so that you can access the money. The payment tends to be about 10% of the amount they claim you are owed.
Scammers will request that payments are made using unusual means; this could include a Ukash voucher, iTunes gift cards or a Paysafecard. These means are used so that the money transfer cannot be traced.
If you make a payment, fraudsters will often contact you again to request more funds to be transferred to release the owed payment.
Criminals often pose as employers, contacting you online or in person with offers to "earn from the comfort of your own home" or "make easy cash, with no experience necessary".
The scam works by a participant being asked to receive money into their bank account and then to transfer it to another account, keeping some of the cash for themselves.
Students, people who are unemployed, new residents to the country or anyone in financial hardship are often the most at risk to this type of scam.
If you transfer money through your account that is from the proceeds of crime, you're a money mule. Even if you are not directly involved in the crimes that generate the money paid into your account.
If you fall for this type of scam and move money on, you are acting illegally and could be prosecuted and imprisoned for up to 14 years.
Your bank account will be closed and you will have problems applying for credit, loans or mobile phone contracts in the future.
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:
For current account customers – +44(0)3457 212 212 (Call Charges)
For credit card customers – +44(0)345 600 6000 (Call Charges)
For business banking customers – +44(0)3457 213 213 (Call Charges)
If you have seen a scam email claiming to be from us, please let us know by forwarding it to email@example.com
If you’re calling from the UK, calls to 0800 and 0808 numbers are free from landlines and mobiles; calls to 03 numbers cost the same as calls to numbers starting with 01 and 02; calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers cost 3p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge; calls to 0844 and 0843 numbers cost 7p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge. Charges for calls made outside of the UK will be determined by your local provider.
Calls may be monitored or recorded for security and training purposes.