Protect yourself from financial scams
Fraudsters are coming up with increasingly sophisticated ways to get hold of your money. Here are some of the more common scams and some tips on how to avoid them.
Also visit our Learn about investment fraud page to find out more about investment scams.
Most people have heard of 'phishing', the email scam that gets you to follow a link and 'log in' to a legitimate-looking site, giving your personal info straight to a fraudster.
Vishing is short for 'voice phishing'. It's similar to phishing but can be much more persuasive because of the personal, person-to-person element. Basically, a fraudster will call their victim and pose as a reputable company, taking advantage of the person's trust in that company.
Vishing fraudsters are very manipulative. Get to know their most common tactics so you won’t become their next victim.
- Fraudsters say they're from a satellite TV provider and offer you a refund on insurance. To process the refund, they'll ask you to input your debit card into your PINsentry card reader and give your authorisation codes. They'll then use the codes to make fraudulent Online Banking payments from your account
- Fraudsters say they're from a phone or utility company and give you a story similar to the above, in the end getting you to give them your PINsentry codes
- Fraudsters say they're from the bank fraud team and say there’s a problem with your account. They ask you to transfer money to a new account in your name, but the money is actually going to the fraudster's account
- Fraudsters say they're from the police and that they need your help in investigating corrupt bank branch staff, getting you to take money out from the branch or cash machine and hand it over for 'use in the investigation' or for 'safekeeping'
- Fraudsters say they're from Barclays and persuade you to go to a cash machine to finish your Mobile Banking app registration, in the end getting access to your accounts
- If you get an unsolicited phone call, be on alert
- If someone calls asking for your personal details, end the call. Then call the company back at a telephone number you get from their official website (or from one of your statements or bills). Just make sure the initial call had been properly disconnected. Try calling one of your good friends first and then call the company back. Or, better yet, use a different phone
- Know that banks and other legitimate companies will never ask for your PIN, password, PINsentry codes or full security details when calling you
- Know that banks or the police will never ask you to withdraw or hand over cash, or transfer funds to another account, even if they say it's in your name
- If you get an automated call from Barclays Fraud Detection Service, you'll only be asked to confirm your date of birth by selecting from several choices. We won't ask you for any other security details
Fraudsters will try to get your bank card and PIN by contacting you and pretending to be your bank or police. They’ll tell you that there’s a problem with your card or account and will either ask for you to tell them your PIN or key it into the phone. They’ll then send someone to collect your card. They may try to reassure you by asking you to phone the bank yourself, but will leave the line open so you’ll unknowingly remain connected to them.
- Barclays will never call to collect your card. Neither will the police
- Never give your card to a ‘courier’ or any other stranger
- Never share your PIN or enter it into a telephone
- Before calling back to verify a call from your bank, police or others asking for your details, make sure your phone has a dial tone. Better yet, use a different phone or call someone else you know and trust first
- If you’ve been scammed, contact us immediately on 0845 755 5555 1
Advance fee fraud
This type of scam involves promising you a substantial amount of money or other opportunities. This could be a lottery or prize draw, an inheritance claim, career prospects, money transfer schemes or PPI refunds. You’ll be asked to pay an upfront fee to collect your money. However, the fraudster will take this and you will see nothing in return.
To protect yourself, always remember:
- Scammers could phone, email, write letters or even visit in person. They will often look and sound very convincing
- Treat any such offers with suspicion and remember if it seems too good to be true, it probably is
- Don’t respond to unsolicited promises of money in return for payment. Genuine lotteries, prize draws or inheritance payments never require you to pay a fee to make a claim
- If you haven’t entered a particular lottery or prize draw, you can’t win it
- Legitimate PPI claims companies will not ask for a fee upfront to help you with your PPI claim
- Report any possible advance-fee fraud to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online
- Visit the FCA and Action Fraud websites to learn more about these types of scams. The Little Book of Big Scams published by the Metropolitan Police also contains information about different scams
This type of fraudster will claim to be from a computer company or a technical department of a bank. They'll say your computer has a virus or security threat and ask to access your computer or convince you to install special software.
This is so they can install ‘malware’, which is malicious software that allows them to access your passwords and steal money from your online bank account. Sometimes they may even try to charge you for their ‘help’.
Here’s how to protect yourself:
- Legitimate computer companies and banks will never make unsolicited calls to you and say that your computer needs repairs
- Never allow any unsolicited person to access or install software on your computer
- If someone calls you out of the blue, don’t follow their instructions to go to a website, type anything into your computer or install software
- If you’re contacted, try to get the caller’s information and report the call to Action Fraud