Protecting yourself from fraud
If you receive a request to provide personal or financial information, you need to take a moment to reflect and step back from the situation.
Even if they say they’re the bank or other trusted organisation, you still need to take the time to stop and think about what’s really going on. Deep down, you probably already know these basic rules on how to beat financial fraud – you just need to take a breath and stay calm enough to remember them.
1. Requests to move money:
A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account. Only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to, that you trust and that you are expecting to be contacted by.
2. Clicking on links/files:
Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
3. Personal information:
Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s fraudulent. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.
4. Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic:
Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Be mindful of who you trust – criminals may try and trick you into their confidence by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud. Criminals often use this to draw you into the conversation, to scare you into acting and revealing security details. Remember, criminals can also make any telephone number appear on your phone handset so even if you recognise it or it seems authentic, do not use it as verification they are genuine.
5. Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision:
Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot; they would never ask you to transfer money into another account for fraud reasons. Remember to stop and take time to carefully consider your actions. A genuine bank or some other trusted organisation won’t rush you or mind waiting if you want time to think.
6. Listen to your instincts:
If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Criminals may lull you into a false sense of security when you are out and about or rely on your defences being down when you’re in the comfort of your own home. They may appear trustworthy, but they may not be who they claim to be.
7. Stay in control:
Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. It’s easy to feel embarrassed when faced with unexpected or complex conversations. But it’s okay to stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it.
If you’ve taken all these steps and still feel uncomfortable or unsure about what you’re being asked, never hesitate to contact your bank or financial service provider on a number you trust, such as the one listed on their website or on the back of your payment card.
The first thing you should do if you’ve been a victim of fraud is to contact Action Fraud. You can report a fraud via their online fraud reporting tool, or by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
If there is a crime being committed right now or if you are in danger you should call the police on 999.
Check out our report fraud page for more info.
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