Protect yourself from fraud
Fraud is a growing problem that everybody needs to be aware of. So everybody would benefit from some advice on how to keep themselves safe from this type of crime.
Check out our tips below on how to protect yourself, but don't just take our word it. Our Learn more about fraud prevention page gives you links to other websites about fraud prevention provided by the police and other organisations.
Keep your computer and mobile software up to date
There are a number of steps you can take to improve your computer's security.
- Make sure you install all the latest updates for your internet browser (eg, Internet Explorer) and operating system (eg, Windows 7). You should be reminded of available updates when they’re ready automatically (unless you’ve manually turned this function off). Keeping your browser and operating system up to date will ensure that these things are safeguarded and performing as well as possible.
- You should have internet security software and a firewall installed on your computer, and you should also ensure you install any updates from the providers. Make sure you run a full scan of your computer regularly with your security software. Find out more about our free security software offer if you don’t have this type of software on your computer already.
- Install the latest updates for any third-party products (eg, non-Microsoft if you use a Windows operating system) you use. These updates sometimes include security fixes.
- Use strong passwords. A strong password should contain a mix of letters (upper and lowercase) and numbers. Try to avoid using anything obvious like your name, username or birth date. And change your passwords regularly.
- Only download files or programs from the Internet if they are from genuine, trusted websites or senders.
- Make sure you install anti-malware software on your web-enabled phone.
Keep your details safe
Keep your cards, passwords, PINs, documents and personal information secure
This will help protect you from identity theft, online fraud, card fraud and more. See our guide to identity fraud to learn more about how you can keep these details safe.
Do not respond to unsolicited communications that ask for your personal details
Although these phone calls, letters, emails or texts can look or sound legitimate, it’s highly likely that they’re fraudulent. Don’t respond to these kinds of communications until you’ve contacted the company concerned to ensure that they’re genuine.
Never download software, open attachments or follow links that you're sent by email unless you're sure they're safe
- If in doubt, delete the email immediately.
- Fraudsters will commonly send unsolicited email with attachments or links that will ultimately install malware (malicious software) on your computer unbeknownst to you.
- Be aware that these emails can be sent from people you know! Fraudsters can sometimes take over the email accounts of people you trust and send out emails containing malware to everyone in their address books. If you're suspicious of anything coming from your contacts, ask them if it's legitimate before proceeding to open any attachments or follow any links.
Check your bank and credit card statements carefully
Check your personal credit file regularly
- This will help you spot any fraudulent activity that may have been conducted in your name. Callcredit , Equifax and Experian all offer credit reports. 1
- Make sure you do this particularly whenever you move from one place to another, as the chances of someone intercepting your post and assuming your identity during this time is higher than usual.
Be vigilant when using cash machines
- Move to another machine if someone behind you is behaving suspiciously or attempts to distract you.
- Never leave receipts behind. Keep them until you've checked them against your statements and dispose of them safely, preferably by shredding them.
- Check for signs of tampering, as this could mean that the machine you're using has been illegally fitted with a skimming device.
Learn about lotto and advance-fee fraud
These scams are variations of the same type of fraud: the victim is asked to make a payment in return for receiving a substantial amount of money. Advance-fee fraud is also known as West African or 419 fraud.
In both type of scam, the fraudster will claim the money is available but a payment is needed to help cover transfer or administrative costs. Lotto fraud payments tend to be low to start with and increase as the victim becomes more engaged with the scam. In contrast, the payment requested in advance-fee fraud is usually quite high – often £15,000 or more.
To protect yourself:
- Treat any such requests for money with suspicion.
- Be aware that these requests can be made by phone, email, letter or even in person. They can look and sound legitimate.
- Don’t respond to any unsolicited communications promising prize money in return for payment.
- Report any possible lotto and advance-fee frauds to the Office of Fair Trading on 0845 722 4499.
- The Metropolitan Police website contains detailed information about these types of fraud. If you’d like to learn more, see their guides to lotto fraud and 419 and advance fee fraud 1.
What should I do if I've fallen victim to fraud on my Barclays accounts?
Contact us immediately if you think you are or may be a victim of fraud on your Barclays cards or accounts. The number you should call varies according to the type of fraud involved.
If you've received a suspicious email that claims to be from us, please forward it to email@example.com and then delete the email immediately.