How to protect yourself from fraud and scams

Let’s fight fraud

Your money matters to you, and it matters to us. Unfortunately people will take advantage of opportunities to find a fraudulent way to get hold of your money through deception. We are right here to help you stop this happening.

Here you can find information on things to look out for when keeping your money safe and to stop you falling victim to some of the types of fraud we know about. Please keep visiting these pages for up to date guidance.

What to do if you’re concerned

Please contact us immediately by phone or visit your local branch if you are concerned:

  • you may have fallen victim to a scam
  • you may have disclosed any confidential information to an unknown third party
  • you believe a transaction on your account is fraudulent
  • you have become a victim of identity theft
  • you have any concerns about security

How to get in touch

Call us

If you have any concerns about fraud, please contact our friendly staff.

9am - 5pm Mon-Fri
9am - 1pm Sat

Report a lost or stolen device

Contact us on 0345 1200 805 if your device is missing. We will deregister your mobile app to keep your account safe.

Report an issue

You can report fraud or security issues 24 hours a day using this form.


The Romance Scam

You’re convinced to make a payment to a person you’ve met online through social media, dating sites, apps or games. Criminals use fake profiles to build a relationship with you. This is known as catfishing. Criminals will even look on social media to create fake identities to target you. They will also look for any profiles that are 'widowed' or divorced'.

The scam often goes to great lengths to gain your trust and convince you you’re in a relationship. This will all happen before the criminal appeals to your compassionate side to ask for money. They will use language to manipulate, persuade and exploit you. These requests might be emotive. The criminal may claim they need money for medical care or to pay for transport costs to visit you.


How to spot a romance scam

  1. You’ve met someone online and they declare strong feelings for you after a few conversations.
  2. They suggest moving the conversation from social media to a more private channel.
  3. Their profile on the internet dating website or social media isn’t consistent.
  4. There are errors in their stories and they make claims such as their camera isn’t working.
  5. They refuse to video call or meet you in person.
  6. Photos generally tend to be from other people.
  7. You’re asked to send money to someone you have not met face-to-face. They may even ask you to provide them with access to your bank account or card.
handsome man on dating app
woman checking her phone

Stay one step ahead

  • Avoid sending money to someone you’ve never met in person, particularly if you have only recently met.
  • Research the person you’re talking to, as profile photos may not be genuine. You can do this by uploading a picture of the person you’re talking to into your search engine. Performing a reverse image search can find photos taken from somewhere else.
  • Be alert to spelling and grammar mistakes and inconsistencies in stories.
  • Stay on the dating site’s messaging service until you’re confident the person is who they say they are.
  • Always consider the possibility of a scam.
  • Only accept friend requests from people you know and trust.
  • Speak to your family or friends to get advice.
For more information and examples of romance scams, visit the Take Five to Stop Fraud website

Take a look at our videos about fighting financial fraud and staying safe online

Watch our video about Fighting Financial Fraud
Watch our video about Staying Safe Online

Other Fraud and Scams 

Read on to find out more about different types of fraud scams, and what you can do to protect yourself and your money. When you’ve finished reading our advice, don’t stop there. Spread the word to your loved ones. With greater awareness of banking security, you might prevent them becoming a victim too.

The scam:

Criminals convince people to invest their money in commodities. These commodities can include property, gold or cryptocurrencies. The commodities then turn out to be non-existent or worthless.

Scammers draw people in by:

  • Approaching them directly to offer an investment opportunity.
  • Placing ads on social media and the web.
  • Using celebrity images or the logo of a genuine company to make their ads look legitimate.
  • Placing sponsored links at the top of search results to attract people to their websites.

Criminals watch genuine trends and copy them to attract more victims. A good example of this is the popularity of cryptocurrencies. This has led to more fraudsters posing as cryptocurrency traders.

How to spot an investment scam:

  • Someone contacts you out of the blue to offer an investment opportunity.
  • They put you under pressure to make a quick decision about an investment.
  • Someone offers to invest in cryptocurrency on your behalf. 
  • Names or logos appear similar to well-known companies, with a small variation.

Stay one step ahead

  • Be ScamSmart. The FCA’s ScamSmart service is a free and helpful tool anyone can use to check an investment is genuine.
  • Check it out. Check if it's a real company by viewing their details on the FCA’s Financial Services Register.
  • Take your time. Remember you can take as long as you need to think about or research an investment opportunity. Only scams will try to rush you.
  • Seek advice. If you’re thinking of making an investment, consider getting professional independent advice.
  • Stay in control. Don’t allow anyone to remotely access your computer, phone or other devices.
  • Remember. If something sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.
  • Report it. If you think you may have fallen victim to a scam, call your bank or building society and make a report to Action Fraud.

The scam:

You make a payment or give financial details to someone who claims to be from a trusted organisation. This could include the police, a bank, a delivery company or a government department.

These scams often begin with a phone call, text or email that appears to be from a trusted organisation. Criminals can use a tactic called ‘spoofing’ to make their call or text appear genuine. Spoofing clones the number or sender ID displayed on your phone. Criminals can even trick you by sending couriers to collect cards, PINs or valuables.

Recently, criminals have also started using social media to contact people. They even pretend to be friends and relatives. If you receive a text from someone asking for money, stop and think. If you can’t speak to them in person, it could be a scam.

How to spot an impersonation scam:

You get a call, text, email or message with an urgent request for information, to make a payment or to move money.
You’re asked to act immediately. This might take the form of a claim ‘your money is at risk’ or ‘your account will be blocked’. The message might threaten arrest or financial loss if you don’t act immediately.
The sender’s credentials are slightly different to that of the genuine sender.

Stay one step ahead:

Most companies are unlikely to ask you to transfer money or contact you to ask for your full PIN or a password.
Only give your financial information to services you are expecting to ask for them.
Always contact your bank or an organisation directly, using a known email or phone number.
Don’t give anyone remote access to your computer following a cold call or unsolicited text.
You can forward suspicious emails to and suspected scam texts to 7726.
HMRC won't notify you or ask for your information via emails, texts or phone calls.
You can forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to and texts to 60599.
If you’re unsure whether it’s a scam, check and their list of recognised scams.
If there's a site you think is suspicious, report it to the National Cyber Security Centre.
For more information and examples of this scam, visit the Take Five to Stop Fraud website

The scam:

A fraudster creates a fake QR code to take you to a fraudulent website. On the fraudulent website you are encouraged to enter information that they can use to steal your identity or to defraud you. For instance they may ask you for personal information, or your bank account login or credit card details.

Stay one step ahead:

Before scanning a QR code in an email or letter make sure you trust the organisation that’s sent it to you and you have an idea where the code is taking you to. If in any doubt, don’t enter any personal information.
If a QR code on a poster, advert or leaflet looks to have been tampered with, or stuck on over the top of an original one, do not scan it. 
If you have visited a website you think is suspicious, you can report it to the National Cyber Security Centre.

The scam:

A cold-caller may offer you a service you don’t really need. They may claim to have noticed something about your property that needs work or improvement, such as the roof, and offer to fix it for cash or an inflated price

How to spot a doorstep scam:

Someone knocks on your door that you weren’t expecting warning that there’s a problem with your roof or driveway that needs to be fixed without delay
You’re asked to make a payment upfront for work to be carried out
You’re convinced to go to your bank branch and withdraw money whilst they set up
Additional problems are identified for which additional money is needed immediately

Stay one step ahead:

  • Never disclose your PIN or let anyone persuade you to hand over your bank card, financial information or withdraw cash
  • Don’t feel pressured. Don’t agree to hand over money at the door. Take time to think about it and talk to someone you trust.
  • Only let someone in if you’re expecting them or they’re a trusted friend, family member or professional. Don’t feel embarrassed about turning someone away.
  • Check their credentials. You should always check someone’s credentials -a genuine person won’t mind. You can phone the company they represent or check online, but never use contact details they give you.
  • Take the time to think about any offer, even if it’s genuine. Don’t be embarrassed to say no or ask them to leave.
  • Call 999 if you feel threatened or in danger. Call the police non-emergency number 101 to report an incident if you’re not in immediate danger.
For more information and examples of doorstep scams, visit the Take Five to Stop Fraud website

The scam:

Also known as an advance fee scam. This is when you’re convinced to pay an upfront fee to get a prize, service, high value goods or loan that isn't real.

How to spot a payment in advance scam:

You’re asked to pay an upfront fee to get money, a prize, services or goods that you weren’t expecting.
You’re asked to pay an upfront fee for a training programme or background check for a job that may not exist.
You’re told that the fee is refundable and will be a deposit or an administrative charge.
There are follow-up fees you need to pay.
The criminal pressures you to pay quickly.
The domain name doesn’t match that of the sender of the email e.g.

Stay one step ahead:

Question claims that you’re due money for goods or services that you haven’t ordered or are unaware of.
It’s extremely unlikely that you’ve won something that you haven’t entered.
Check the email addresses of potential employers to ensure they’re genuine.
Confirm that any organisation that contacts you is legitimate. Check on Companies House and use the details provided to contact companies directly. You can also check their website is genuine by checking the web address that they’ve registered.
Be wary of fake profiles on social media such as LinkedIn, as they could be offering jobs that don’t exist.
If you find a job scam, you can report it to JobsAware using their online reporting tool.
 If a website seems suspicious, you can report it to the National Cyber Security Centre.

The scam:

Online shopping has let criminals trick people into paying for goods that don’t exist. These items are often advertised via auction sites or social media with stolen images. Criminals also use cloned websites to trick you into thinking you’re on a genuine website. They may ask for payment before delivery and send you fake receipts and invoices.

How to spot a potential purchase scam:

You’re offered a heavily discounted or cheap service. The deal sounds too good to be true.
You’re asked to pay by bank transfer instead of using the online platform’s secure payment options.
You receive a fake email receipt or invoice that appears to be from the website you’ve purchased from. The email address domain doesn’t match that of the genuine senders.
The website that you’re purchasing from was only launched weeks ago.

Stay one step ahead:

Be suspicious of any "too good to be true" offers or prices.
Use the secure payment method recommended by reputable online retailers and auction sites.
Use a credit card for purchases as you will receive protection under the Credit Consumer Act.
Read online reviews to check websites and sellers are genuine.
Buy from the list of authorised sellers listed on a brand's official website.
Always access the website you’re purchasing from by typing it into your web browser.
Always ensure you click ‘log out’ or ‘sign out’ of websites.
If you’re looking for a pet, buy it directly from a breeder or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead.
If a website looks suspicious you can report it to the National Cyber Security Centre.
For more information and examples of purchase scams, visit the Take Five to Stop Fraud website

The scam:

This is when criminals pose as a service or supplier you regularly pay. They then give you new bank account details. You’re then tricked into sending money to their account. The criminals often intercept emails or gain access to a supplier’s email account.

How to spot an invoice and mandate scam:

You get new bank details from an existing service provider.
You receive duplicate or more frequent invoices for a product or service.

Stay one step ahead:

Confirm service provider bank details with the company before paying.
When paying someone for the first time, transfer a small amount first and check they got it.
Send confirmation to service providers once you have paid their invoice.
Always question changes in payment information.
Be careful what you share on social media as criminals may target you.
For more information and examples of this scam, visit the Take Five to Stop Fraud website

The scam:

From fake caravan listings to 'amazing' holidays deals, holidays scams are common.

Holiday cancellation refund scams

Having your flights or holidays cancelled can be stressful, even more so when you’re seeking a refund. Criminals use these opportunities to defraud people. This can happen via phishing emails, ‘spoofed’ calls or social media.

Holiday booking scams

Make sure you research your accommodation, flights and package. Criminals set up fake websites offering deals to get your money and information. Websites may look like that of genuine organisations but with subtle changes. The site may send you away from secure payment channels to fake payment pages. The tickets advertised may be fake or not exist.

You may also get emails advertising offers or prices for package holidays or flights. When you click the link you’re directed to a fake website designed to get your financial information.

Stay one step ahead:

Be suspicious of any “too good to be true” offers or prices. If it’s at a rock bottom price, ask yourself why.
Do your research before making any purchases by reading reviews. Before booking accommodation ask what checks the agent makes. Check the address exists through web searches and online maps.
Where possible, book with an established hotel or through a reputable travel company.
Read the terms before making any bookings to confirm exactly what you're buying.
Always use the secure payment options recommended by reputable online travel providers.
Use a credit card when making purchases over £100 and up to £30,000 as you receive added protection.
Always access the website you’re purchasing from by typing it into your web browser. The website should use the padlock symbol to show the site is secure.
Don’t click on links or attachments in social media posts or emails.
Question uninvited deals and contact companies directly to confirm your booking.
Only give out your financial information to trusted services.
If a website looks suspicious you can report it to the National Cyber Security Centre.
For more information and advice about scams, visit the Take Five to Stop Fraud website

Stay One Step Ahead

How you can protect yourself from scams

To stay safe from fraud and scams, remember the Take Five to Stop Fraud advice:
  • Stop. Take time to think about what you are being asked to do before parting with your money.
  • Challenge. Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will rush or panic you.
  • ProtectContact us straight away if you think you’ve fallen for a scam.
You should also make a report to Action Fraud Your report might help prevent others from becoming victims.

Staying Safe Online

Follow the link below to find out more about using the internet safely and protecting yourself from identity theft and fraud.

A man checking his mobile phone

Read our guide

Download our Fraud Target leaflet.

thumbnail of Protect yourself from Fraud pdf

Read our guide

Download our Protect yourself from Identity Theft and Fraud guide.

More information

For more information on current scams, bank fraud and banking security, please visit the following websites:

Take Five  - My money? My info? I don’t think so. Take Five to stop fraud.
Action Fraud  - A service that is run by the National Fraud Authority – the government agency that helps to co-ordinate the fight against fraud in the UK.
Metropolitan Police  - Useful contacts for advice about fraud and cyber crime.
FCA  - Regulator of financial services in the UK.
Get Safe Online  - Easy-to-understand information about online safety.