Protect yourself and your money from fraud

How to spot the latest 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.

It’s important to be fraud aware at all times, but this is even more important during this pandemic.

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.

0345 1200 100*

9am - 5pm Mon-Fri 9am - 1pm Sat

Report a lost/stolen card

Call our helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

0345 9101 112*

Alternatively, you can visit your nearest branch or report it online

Report a card

Report a lost/stolen device

If your phone or tablet device has been stolen contact us on 0345 1200 805 as soon as possible to deregister the mobile application access and ensure your account is kept safe.

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Read our guide

Download our Protect yourself from Identity Theft and Fraud (509 KB) guide.

Contact Action Fraud

You should also consider letting Action Fraud know too, as their reporting service helps keep people safe. Action Fraud work closely with the police, so your report might help prevent others from becoming victims.

 

 

We’re going digital with our events

To help you protect yourself against Fraud and to Stay Safe Online, and because we’re unable to hold face to face events right now, we want to make sure you’re getting the support you need during these difficult times. So we’ve created some videos for you to watch.

 

Watch our video about Fighting Financial Fraud

Watch our video about Staying Safe Online

 

Latest Fraud and Scams updates

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.

Fake authority scams

The scam:

‘Fake authority’ is a type of scam where fraudsters claim to be from the FCA or Financial Services Authority (FSA - the organisation that previously regulated financial services in the UK) to try and get you to reveal important personal and financial information. In 2020, there was an increase of 73% in ‘fake authority’ scams reported to the Regulator.

Fraudsters may also claim to be from other organisations, such as:

  • Financial Ombudsman Service
  • Financial Services Compensation Scheme
  • Money Advice Service

You should also beware of emails or calls claiming to be from HMRC and offering a tax rebate. HMRC never calls or emails about tax rebates. It also never asks for personal or payment information over the phone or via email.

How it works:

You may receive an email, letter or phone call from someone claiming to be from the FCA. They may use the name of an employee, our logo, or other images taken from our website or publications, to make you think that the communication is genuine.

The fraudsters may claim:

  • you owe the FCA money
  • you are entitled to some money and the Regulator need your bank account details to make the payment
  • the FCA are investigating your bank or other financial institution, and need you to move your money to another account for security reasons

They may ask you for personal information, such as copies of your payslips or passport, bank account details or internet banking passwords.

How to spot fake authority scams:

Always check the URL of a website you visit to make sure it matches the legitimate one (www.fca.org.uk) and always access the FS Register from the FCA website, rather than through external links.

Look for signs that any email, letter, message or phone call may not be from the FCA:

  • Phone calls could be from a mobile or overseas number.
  • An email address could be from a Hotmail, Outlook or Gmail account.
  • Communications may contain spelling mistakes and poor grammar.
  • Website addresses and social media accounts may contain very small changes or extra punctuation.

Beware of other social media accounts claiming to represent the FCA. The FCA owns the following official social media accounts.

If you see another social media account claiming to represent the FCA, it’s probably a scam.

How to protect yourself from fake authority scams

Keep in mind that the FCA would never contact you asking for money or your bank account details. If someone does, it’s likely to be a scam.

If you think you have been contacted by scammers pretending to be the Regulator, we strongly advise that you don’t respond to the criminals in any way. Instead, call the FCA consumer helpline on 0800 111 6768.

It’s important to remember that the FCA would never ask you for money or your personal details. If you’re contacted out of the blue by someone claiming to work for the Regulator, it’s likely to be a scam.

Contact the FCA directly if you have any concerns. Do not use the contact details on any correspondence received, as these could also be fake.

Telephone ‘vishing’

The scam:

The term ‘vishing’, which combines the words ‘voice’ and ‘phishing’, refers to telephone fraud. A fraudster calls, claiming to be from a bank/building society, the police, utility company or IT company and tells the victim their account or computer has been compromised. The may say bank staff are involved, not to alert them and to follow a scripted response to any questions.

How it works:

With this type of bank fraud, the scammer will wrongly claim that the victim must do the following to protect their money:

  • Transfer money to another account that provides the fraudsters with bank details for a ‘safe’ account that has been opened for them
  • Give their card and PIN number to a courier who will come to their home to collect it
  • Allow the fraudsters remote access to the computer to log onto their Internet Banking
  • Provide details of their debit/credit card so a refund/payment can be made.

In all of these cases the actions of the victim allow the fraudster access to their money.

How to spot vishing:

  • Is the caller asking for your PIN or passwords? Your bank will never ask you for these.
  • Are they rushing you for information?
  • What number are they calling from? You can always call the bank to verify the caller’s identity before continuing with any conversation.
Phishing

The scam:

Unsolicited emails are another way scammers can get information about you. Often these have the appearance of an official communication and can look convincing.

How it works:

Emails are sent with links to fake websites which encourage people to enter personal, login and card details, or account information. Victims may also run the risk of their computer or smartphone being infected by viruses. Once details are entered, criminals then record this information and use it to commit identity theft and bank fraud.

What to do

It’s important than you avoid clicking on any links or downloading documents that you’re unsure about. If you receive a suspicious email, please forward it to us at phishing@emis.ybs.co.uk. This is a service provided by a specialist third party company; your report will be investigated and action will be taken to close down any fake websites to protect you and other customers who may have been targeted. Note, you will not receive a response to your email.

Smishing

The scam:

‘Smishing’ is where you may be contacted by a fraudster by text message pretending to be from a trusted organisation, but looking to get personal details of a victim.

How it works:

SMS phishing uses text messages to convince people to share their personal information (full debit card or bank account details). They may attempt to get you to click on links, call a number or visit a fake website where you would enter your personal details. Increasingly, scammers use other messaging systems too, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Criminals can go on to use this personal information to commit fraud.

What to do

Don’t reply to the message, or click on the links as described above. Even by replying, the fraudsters may consider your number ‘active’ and attempt to commit fraud in the future.

How to spot text message scams:

  • Are you expecting any direct communication from your bank? You can contact them to make sure.
  • Are there spelling mistakes, is your name displayed incorrectly, or is the grammar poor?
Romance

The scam:

Victims think they’ve met their perfect partner online, when in reality they are fraudsters.

How it works:

Once the fraudster is confident they’ve gained the victim’s trust, they will tell them about an emotive problem they are experiencing, or a wish to visit the victim, and ask them for money to help. When the victim sends money, the fraudster will often come back with reasons to send them even more money.

Bogus tradespeople

The scam:

A salesperson uses clever tactics to pressurise you into buying something you don’t want or something that’s poor value for money on your doorstep.

How it works:

Bogus traders promote goods or services that are never delivered to you or are of a very poor quality. They can often convince victims that they need work doing that isn’t needed or may bill them for work that they didn’t agree to.

There are specific laws about door-to-door sales in which many are required to give you a ‘cooling-off’ period (where you can change your mind or request your money back). Bogus tradespeople will offer none of these, and even if they do, you can be sure their ‘guarantee’ will not be honoured.

They provide false contact information, making it impossible for you to identify or contact them. If you’ve paid them in advance, you won’t get your money back. Also bear in mind that once they get through your door, fraudulent salespeople can take note of your valuables and any security measures you have in place.

Advance fee fraud

The scam:

Advance fee scams are when fraudsters target victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services and/or financial gains that do not materialise.

How it works:

The victim applies for a loan and is advised they must pay a ‘fee’ in advance of the loan money being sent, or the victim is advised they have won the lottery or a prize but must pay a ‘fee’ before receiving this. The victim either sends money direct to the fraudster’s account or is advised to purchase ‘gift cards’ and contact the fraudster with the code numbers. In all instances the victim never receives their money or prize.

Mortgages – change to solicitor’s bank details

The scam:

Fraudsters hack into the email chains between house buyers and their solicitors to divert money that was supposed to be used to purchase a house.

How it works:

The fraudster, posing as the house buyer’s solicitor, sends an email to the house buyer notifying them their bank account details have changed. The house buyers send their money to the new bank account which has been set up by the fraudster, rather than their solicitor’s real bank account.

Fake websites

The scam:

Fraudsters set up fake websites or adverts offering holidays or other goods for sale at an incredibly cheap rate.

How it works:

The victim views the website or advert, which has pictures of the holiday accommodation or goods that don’t actually exist. The victim communicates with fraudsters and purchases the holiday/goods. They are asked to send the money by bank transfer, Moneywise or Western Union rather than paying by debit/credit card or PayPal.

Fake invoices

The scam:

Fraudsters send a fake invoice or bill to a company, requesting payment for goods or services.

How it works:

The invoice might state that the due date for the payment has passed, or threaten that non-payment will affect their credit rating. This is to encourage the receiver to pay the invoice.

Courier fraud

The scam:

Someone pretending to be from your bank or building society contacts you and convinces you to give them your card details. They arrange for a courier to pick up your card to take it away for evidence or to be destroyed. The card is collected by the fraudsters to withdraw money from your account.

How it works:

The scammers may say their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment on your card or it needs to be replaced. They then ask you to read out your credit or debit card PIN or type it on your phone keypad as well as other personal information. They try to offer you peace of mind by sending a courier to you to collect your bank card. The fraudster will now have the personal details they need to withdraw cash, and can use the information to commit identity fraud in your name.

Holiday booking

The scam:

This type of scam occurs when a person pays a travel agent or agency, or someone offering short-term lodging for rent or a holiday online, but the holiday they’ve booked (or parts of it) doesn’t exist.

How it works:

Fraudsters use fake online adverts, bogus sales calls, emails and text messages offering cheap rates to tempt you into booking a holiday with them. They may steal images of hotels or rented apartments from other travel websites and pass them off as their own. You may be told to pay in cash for your holiday. Or, the fraudster may attempt a bank transfer scam, tricking you into transferring money from your account to theirs. In some cases, the fraudster may completely end contact after you’ve paid and won’t confirm anything you’ve booked; the holiday they’ve offered doesn’t exist.

Career opportunities

The scam:

A business opportunity which claims to offer a quick way to make a lot of money from home without having any qualifications, skills or expertise as advertised.

How it works:

Before starting any work, the victim has to pay money upfront, usually in the form of a registration fee or to enable the ‘employer’ to buy goods. After this money has been paid, the victim either finds that there is no work to do or they will not be paid for any work done.

Phone number spoofing/Caller ID scam

The scam:

Phone number scams happen when a fraudster tricks someone into thinking they are receiving a call from a trusted organisation, when the number actually belongs to the fraudster.

How it works:

Fraudsters clone the telephone number of the organisation they want to impersonate and then make it appear on the victim’s caller ID display when they telephone them. They then pose as a bank, credit card company or government department and ask for personal information. The fraudsters will then gain the person’s trust by highlighting the telephone number to them, claiming that this is proof of their identity, before trying to scam them in various ways.

Fake pension advice

The scam:

Sophisticated marketing techniques, including cold calling, text messages, website pop-ups or even door-step selling, convince victims to have a free pension review.

How it works:

The review promises higher returns on their investment, but rather than transferring their fund to the new investment, the fund goes to the fraudster’s account instead.

Share fraud and boiler room

The scam:

An organised scam operation referred to as ‘boiler room fraud’, where a room full of salespeople, use high pressure cold calling techniques to sell worthless or overpriced shares.

How it works:

Contact can come by phone, email, post or through advertising. People who own shares in a company may receive a call offering to buy them, usually at a higher price than they are worth. This may come with a request for money up front, which the fraudsters claim will be paid back if the sale doesn’t progress. In reality, the victim never hears from the fraudsters again.

 

 

Protecting yourself

How you can protect yourself

There's a lot you can do to protect yourself and your accounts

COVID-19 has given fraudsters new opportunities to make these kind of calls, especially with more people isolated or spending more time at home. All of the above allow a fraudster access to your money.

Tips

  • Take time to think about what you are being asked to do.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no, or to simply hang up if you feel pressured into taking action you are not comfortable with.
  • Anyone legitimate won’t mind you asking questions, or even questioning their credentials.
  • If you want to call back, then use a number you trust (i.e. not one that they give you) and don’t make the call straight away. Allow time for the line to clear (5 or 10 minutes) in case they didn’t hang up and are still holding on. Or even use a different phone if you have one.
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How we protect you online

An overview of the security measures we take to protect you

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