Protect yourself from fraud

We all think that fraud will not happen to us, that we would not fall for a scam and that we would not make a payment to a fraudster.

Unfortunately, criminals are smart, savvy and use sophisticated technology to trick us out of our money or personal information. It is important to understand that on many occasions fraudsters are getting in touch to complete research on you before running the scam.

Impersonation scams

There has been a huge surge in impersonation fraud in 2021. Criminals will pretend to be from an organisation you trust such as the police, your bank, a delivery company, or a government department. They will ask you to make a payment or share some of your personal information with them.

Watch out for spoofing – this is when the fraudsters make their call or text appear genuine by showing the number or sender ID.

You will be asked to act immediately, with claims such as ‘your money is at risk’ or ‘there are suspicious transactions’. They will ask you to move money or share personal information with them and, if you do not comply, there may be threats of fines or imprisonment.

Remember, do not feel pressured into action by any callers. We understand it may be difficult and the fear of punishment may spur you into action. Always hang up the phone and telephone the organisation back on a reputable number.

We will never ask you to transfer money to a safe account or contact you out of the blue to ask you to confirm your PIN, online banking password or personal account details.

Investment scams

The fraudster will try to convince you to move your money to a fictitious investment fund or to pay for an investment scheme. The offer of high returns can be tempting, so remember – if it seems too good to be true it probably is.

They will contact you out of the blue to talk about an investment opportunity and you will be offered a high return with supposedly little or very limited risk. There will be pressure to make a quick decision, leaving you no time to consider your options.

The best way to stay safe is to reject cold calls, or simply hang up if someone tries to talk to you about your investments. Do not feel pressured into deciding. Before making any payments, research the company online and verify the company is on the Financial Services Register. Also, check the opportunity using the Financial Conduct Authority Warning List if there’s one in place.

Purchase scams

Purchase scams involve a person being tricked into sending money via bank transfer to buy goods or services, often advertised online, which do not actually exist.

When shopping online the best ways to keep safe are to buy from a trusted retailer whenever possible and to always pay by card for the greatest protection. If the merchant does not accept the card, this should be a huge red flag alerting you to a potential scam.

Time to take five

The first thing to remember is to take five and be fraud aware:

  • If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Are you being pushed into making a hasty purchase or decision? This is a red flag that the situation is not right.
  • Take another look. Is it likely that the tax office would send you a text asking you to make a payment?
  • Check the facts. Call the organisation on their official number. Do not use the re-dial or call back function on your telephone.
  • Take control. If you receive a call saying your bank has been compromised, hang up the telephone. Next you can either log into your online bank account to check for yourself, or telephone the Bank Helpdesk using the number listed on your debit card to speak to someone about it.

Remember that we are here to help. If you have received an unsolicited approach and are concerned about it, please call your relationship manager for advice.