This is where our fraud team share details about the latest types of financial fraud or scams being reported across the UK. We recommend bookmarking this page to familiarise yourself with the latest techniques being used by criminals.

To help protect yourself from scams and fraud, before making any cryptocurrency payments, visit our cryptocurrency page.

We want to support our customers through these challenging times. This includes helping you protect yourself from fraud and scams. We’re aware of some different scam tactics that are being used to target people so it’s important that you remain alert, keep yourself up to date with the current trends and be on the lookout for anything suspicious. 

Take a look at our video on the latest coronavirus fraud and scams, as well as some tips to help you keep your money safe. 


The scams
 
’Face mask for sale’ – Criminals will post fake adverts online selling coronavirus-related protective equipment and health products, including face masks and hand sanitiser. They may even claim there’s a test kit you can purchase. Once you’ve paid, the goods never arrive. 
 
An act of kindness? – Offers of help and support with day-to-day activities, such as getting your shopping in. Many people are genuinely doing this for free, but criminals will ask for the money up front or say you need to hand over your card and share your PIN. 
 
Impersonation emails – Criminals impersonate genuine organisations, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) or HMRC. They send emails asking you to click on a link to receive more information, to claim a refund or to donate money to help others. But these links go to fake sites where you’re asked to enter your details, or they’ll install malicious software on to your computer or device.

Helping someone in difficulty – Requests from someone who claims to be stuck abroad or needing financial support because of the coronavirus outbreak. They’ll convince you to send them money, which ends up in the hands of the criminal. 

‘We’ve got a vaccine’ – Calls or emails offering to reserve a COVID-19 vaccine, or to secure other health products. They’ll claim to be from a legitimate organisation and ask for your personal and card details to secure the transaction. You pay the money, but the items never arrive.
 
’Your money’s at risk’ – Criminals may call you pretending to be from Santander or another legitimate organisation. They tell you that your money’s at risk and it needs to be transferred immediately to a new account. The story is not real, and the money is actually transferred to the criminal’s account.
 
’Validating security details’ – Texts and emails are being sent that appear to come from your bank. They’ll ask you to click a link to validate your security details, checking they’re working correctly so you can continue accessing your account. The link takes you to a fake site to steal your details.

Offers of financial support – Callers offering to reduce interest payments or give payment holidays on your credit cards, loans and mortgages. They could also offer to apply for Government initiated financial support packages on your behalf. These calls won’t be genuine, but they’ll request your card or bank details to check your eligibility or to progress the application.

Protect yourself
Knowing our key fraud advice will help you protect you, your friends and your family; pass it on to someone you care about. 

  • Always Take Five and verify that any contact is genuine – use trusted sources and publicly available telephone numbers.
  • Never rely on a caller’s phone number to verify their identity. Fraudsters can ’spoof’ a phone number to make you believe it’s a genuine call.
  • Remember, a genuine organisation will never rush you in to taking action. If you’re ever unsure of what you’re being asked to do, take your time and don’t be rushed.
  • Avoid paying by money transfer when buying online. Pay with secure payment methods, such as PayPal or your credit/debit card.
  • Never transfer or withdraw money out of your account if you’re instructed to do so for security reasons. Santander or the police will never ask you to do this.
  • Never click on links or attachments in emails received out of the blue and never enter your online banking details after following an email link.  
  • Always be honest with Santander regarding the reason for the payment and why you’re are making it. Read/listen to all fraud and scam warnings given to you.
  • Never send money to someone you’ve recently met, or someone who’s told you they urgently need you to send money, this could be a scam

 
Whilst these scams aren’t new, criminals will always use current situations to try and trick people out of their money. Find out more information about how to protect yourself fraud and scams and our top tips

We’ve signed up to a voluntary code to make sure that you’re more protected against authorised push payment scams. 

This type of scam happens when a customer is tricked into authorising a payment to an account that they believe belongs to a legitimate payee when it is in fact controlled by a scammer.

The banks and building societies that have signed up to this code have agreed in some circumstances to reimburse customers who’ve lost money in authorised payment scams.

The code also means that the number of scams should be reduced because signatories promise to: 

  • protect customers with procedures to detect, prevent and respond to the scams, and 
  • take more measures to prevent accounts being used to launder the proceeds. 

For more information take a look at the Lending Standards Board’s page on authorised push payment scams  

Action Fraud has reported that they’ve received more than 5,000 reports about fake emails and texts pretending to be from TV licensing.

These fake messages contain links to false websites that are designed to capture banking, personal or security information.

If you receive an email like this or any other email that you’re not sure is genuine, do not click on any links.

For more information on the latest scams and how you can protect yourself visit our top security tips

The Arcadia Group (owner of Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Topman, Topshop, Wallis and Outfit) has been placed into administration and Debenhams is entering liquidation.

Unfortunately customers now need to be vigilant of criminals using these events as an opportunity to trick people into revealing personal or financial information or even making payments. 

Criminals often pose as members of genuine organisations including banks, the police and retailers. They may pretend to be from the impacted company (in this case part of the Arcadia Group or Debenhams) or claim they're dealing with an issue resulting from the financial uncertainty.

This warning applies to any other companies which are in financial difficulty or which may enter an insolvency process, which unfortunately is increasingly common as the pandemic continues.

Fraudulent emails, phone calls, text or social media messages often claim to be able to help customers with perhaps refunds or outstanding orders. Criminals then attempt to get victims to share personal or financial information, which they’ll then use for their own fraudulent purposes.

Please take a moment to visit the Take Five website and our ‘Spotting fraud or scams’ section to learn about the most common threats and top tips to avoid fraud and spot scams that could target you or your family.

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