What is fraud?

Fraud is the crime of getting money by deceiving people. It is when trickery is used to dishonestly make a financial gain from another person.

OR…………..cyberfraud, scam, con, swindle, sham, hoax, cheat, ruse, hoodwink, confidence trick.Security-1

Banks and building societies place a high priority on keeping your money safe and secure. They do everything they can to protect your money, personal information and privacy. However criminals are always trying to find new ways to get hold of people’s money. So you need to protect yourself and reduce the risks.

How to protect yourself

  • Keep your passwords and PINs secure. Never share them with anyone.
  • Pick a ‘strong’ password – avoid choosing something obvious and use numbers, letters and perhaps even symbols or a combination of all three. And never use the same password for more than one account.
  • When using your card, make sure no one can overhear you or see your information.
  • Check your bank statements regularly and report anything you are unsure of.
  • Safely store or shred your financial statements, receipts and documents rather than just throwing them away.
  • Let your bank or building society know:
    • if you move and give them your new address; to be on the safe side you may want to redirect your mail too
    • if you lose your card
  • Cancel lost or stolen cards immediately
  • Close any accounts you no longer use
  • Check your credit rating and contact the credit rating agency if there’s anything you don’t recognise
  • Never respond to emails, texts or phone calls asking for your account details
  • Never follow an email link and beware of fake websites set up to steal your identity

Different types of financial fraud

Card fraud

Criminals can use your stolen card, or the personal information from your card, to purchase goods in your name or obtain money from your account.

Protect yourself:

  • Keep all your cards and financial details safe
  • Try not to let your card out of your sight when paying for things
  • Sign any new cards as soon as they arrive
  • When you get a new card, cut through the chip of the expired oneSecurity-b

Online and telephone fraud

Have you heard of Phishing, Vishing and a new threat called Twishing? These are social engineering techniques used by fraudsters to trick you into providing your banking login details and other sensitive information. Typically, you will receive an email, tweet, direct message or telephone call that appears to be from your bank, the police or other reputable organisation, with the aim of tricking you into providing your personal or security-related information. They may also claim to be from a reputable Internet services company and ask if they can remotely access your PC to solve a supposed problem.

Phishing – If online, you may unknowingly click on a link or attachment in an email which redirects you to a fake website, or installs malicious software known as Malware.

Vishing – If by telephone, the caller may try to persuade you to either use your card reader to authorise payments via the internet to the fraudster’s account or instruct you to login to internet banking and transfer funds to a new account which you are told will safeguard your money. Or they may try to persuade you to hand over your bank cards and PINs to a courier.

Twishing – If by direct message or Tweet, criminals may attempt to obtain your personal information and Internet Banking credentials fraudulently. They often use a false account and pretend to be from your bank or building society. You may then be directed to a false website where you’ll be asked to log in with your Internet banking credentials.

Protect yourself:


  • Download Trusteer Rapport Online Banking Security Software
  • Always use antivirus software in conjunction with Trusteer Rapport
  • Look out for indications that you are using a secure site: a key or padlock symbol and the address prefix https://
  • Try not to use internet cafes to manage your finances


  • Never disclose your memorable data or passcodes generated by your card reader in response to an unexpected phone call or email.
  • Fraudsters may instruct you to use your card reader, either to hand over passcodes or transfer money to a safe account, don’t do it.
  • If asked to dial the number on the back of the card, use a different telephone or wait at least 5 minutes before re-dialling.


  • Delete Tweets or Direct Messages via Twitter, or any other social media channel that contains links to an Internet Bank. If you receive a suspicious tweet or direct message, let your bank or building society know.

Cheque fraud

Even though cheques are becoming less popular, cheque fraud still occurs. A fraudster uses a stolen, worthless or altered cheque to get cash or pay for goods and services.

Protect yourself:

  • Do not accept a cheque or Banker’s Draft from someone unless you know and trust them.
  • Be careful if accepting a cheque in payment, check it is genuine and details are correct.
  • Look out for cheque fraud scams, such as when someone overpays you by cheque and asks for you to refund the difference.

Identity fraud

Identity fraud occurs when personal information is taken and used fraudulently. This could be to get credit, buy goods or take over your existing accounts. It may also be to get a passport or driving licence. Identity theft takes away your control over your personal affairs and can be damaging to your financial reputation.

Protect yourself:

  • Never share personal information, unless you know who you’re dealing with.
  • Keep your details safe and secret including your memorable data, pass number or card reader generated passcodes.

Fraud and investment scams

Criminals use persuasive, hard sell tactics that often include using impressive job titles, technical jargon and creating a sense of urgency. Criminals will often advise victims to keep the investment a secret. The talk will start with the lines “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and you could do very nicely out of this”. But remember if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is!

Protect yourself:

  • Only invest money with companies authorised by The Financial Conduct Authority.
  • Don’t pay fees, give your personal details or financial information to collect a prize or competition winnings.
  • Don’t be rushed into agreeing anything you are not sure of.

Mobile banking fraud

This is when your mobile phone is stolen and fraudsters try to get access to your bank account. To do this they first need your personal details. They’ll use a variety of ways to get this, like social networking, phishing emails, phone calls (pretending to be from a bank or the police) and bin-raiding.

If your mobile phone is stolen, you should tell your provider straight away. They can blacklist and deactivate it remotely. You should then change any passwords for online accounts you access through your phone as soon as possible, for example Mobile Banking.

Protect yourself:

  • Set up a password or passcode on your phone or tablet
  • Never store personal details like passwords or PIN numbers on your mobile
  • If your phone has a tracker and deactivator make sure you set it up
  • Keep your anti-virus software, operating systems and firewalls up to date.

Top 10 security tips

  1. Never share personal information, unless you know who you’re dealing with
  2. Never respond to emails asking for your account details, never log in from an email link and always use your bank or building societies main website
  3. Keep your details safe and secret including your memorable data, passnumber or card reader generated passcodes
  4. Keep your card safe and in sight when using it to pay, especially when abroad
  5. Check your balance regularly and notify your bank or building society immediately if you spot any unusual transactions
  6. Only shop on websites which show the security icon – padlock or unbroken key symbol
  7. Safely store or shred your statements, receipts and documents holding financial information
  8. Use a secure computer which has the latest anti-virus software and a firewall installed
  9. Be cautious using internet cafés or public computers
  10. Cancel lost or stolen cards immediately.

Things banks and building societies wont do.
But the fraudsters might…

  1. Call or email you asking for your full PIN number or any online banking passwords
  2. Send you an email with a link to a page where you’re asked to enter your online banking details
  3. Ask you to carry out a test transaction online
  4. Call round to your home asking to collect cash or bank cards
  5. Ask you to authorise the transfer of funds to a new account
  6. Let you carry out a transaction via an app that’s not your Mobile Banking app
  7. Ask you to email or text personal or banking information
  8. Call you with advice on buying things like diamonds or land

Protect yourself from scams

You can check out these tips from the Money Advice Service to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of fraud.


  • Make sure your cards and PINs are safe – don’t write your PIN down, and if you have, make sure you don’t keep the note and your card together
  • Don’t let your card out of your sight when you’re paying for things
  • Don’t give your PIN to anyone else
  • Shield your PIN whenever you enter it – both at a cash machine and whenever you use your card to make a purchase.

Choosing a password


  • Try to use at least eight characters or more if you can
  • Try to use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols
  • Also remember that changing letters to numbers (for example E to 3 and i to 1) are techniques well-known to criminals
  • Pick a phrase you know well, and use the first character from each word


  • Don’t be obvious and use your actual name, address or family members’ names or birthdays
  • Don’t use words that reflect personal information others could easily know about you, such as your favourite team or music
  • Don’t pick common dictionary words
  • Avoid numbers in duplicate, order or sequences

Card Reader Security

  • Some banks and building societies offer card readers as an additional level of security. Using one helps protect you online and assures your bank or building society that it’s you logging in and that you have initiated any transactions.

Check out these other websites for more advice:

What to read next

Credit rating

A comprehensive guide to what is a credit rating, why they are important, factors which effect your rating and how to check your own.


A practical guide for how to approach budgeting, including tips for how to budget, plan your spending and savings.