One of the best ways to stay safe from financial fraud is to know what to look out for. On this page, we’ll keep you up to date with some of the latest scams. And we’ll also give you some hints and tips on what to do if you think you’re in one of these situations.
If something looks suspicious, the best thing to do is…nothing. Don’t click on links, give any details or do what it wants you to do. Instead, look online for the company’s official details and contact them direct.
If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. When something doesn’t feel right, stop and think about who is asking you to do it and why.
The number one way to stop scammers is by making sure your password and security settings are strong, updated regularly and available to you alone.
Some scammers will send text messages saying there’s been fraudulent activity on your bank account and prompt you to call a number or visit a website to update your personal information. The messages might even appear in a genuine chain of text messages you've received from the organisation before.
Some scammers will send text messages saying there’s been fraudulent activity on your bank account and prompt you to call a number or visit a website to update your personal information. The messages even might appear in a genuine chain of text messages you've received from the organisation before.
Call the company on a number you trust or visit their website by typing their web address directly into your browser. Don’t click on any links or copy and paste anything from the message itself.
If you’re unsure about a text message that appears to be from us, call us on 0345 850 0469, or report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or actionfraud.police.uk.
When coronavirus hit the headlines, scammers didn’t waste any time finding ways to take advantage. From urging people to buy fake goods online like vaccines and facemasks, to targeting vulnerable people on the doorstep. Here are some of the scams that are active right now.
There have reports of fake NHS emails, text messages, letters and even home visits offering COVID-19 vaccinations.
How to protect yourself
Keep an eye out for emails or text messages that look as though they’re from the NHS asking you to share bank details. The COVID-19 vaccine is free, and the NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer it.
What to do
If someone contacts you about the vaccine and you're not sure if they’re genuine, end the conversation and contact your local GP.
Fake messages from Gov.uk have been doing the rounds offering tax refunds, benefit payments and fines. The messages are designed to entice you to click on a link or call a number that will take you to a fake website or call centre where criminals will try to get you to enter your personal information.
Think before you click. Be wary of unexpected emails or text messages asking you to click links or telephone a company. Don’t provide any personal information unless you’re 100% sure who you’re dealing with.
If in doubt, contact the company by looking up their number, then call them to confirm the message is really from them. You can also report fake government messages to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk.
Online shopping increased during the pandemic and so did the rise in shopping sites selling fake virus testing kits, miracle cures, masks and anti-bacterial products.
People or companies offering COVID-related products might not be genuine businesses. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Don’t hand over money, bank details or personal information to any company you’re not 100% sure about. You can also report fake government messages to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk.
Be careful where you get information about coronavirus. Only use government and NHS websites or reputable news outlets for the latest coronavirus information.
Lots of new groups popped up during the pandemic and, while most had good intentions, not all were genuine.
Be cautious about anyone offering services like shopping, home cleaning or medication collection to lonely or vulnerable people.
It’s always fine to say no and close the door to unexpected callers, whoever they say they are.
Phishing emails are designed to trick you into giving away personal information and might look as though they’re from a bank, building society, shopping website or other legitimate company. They might even appear in a genuine chain of emails you’ve already received.
Look out for emails that ask for personal information like login IDs, passwords or security questions, or invite you to click links and open attachments. Be wary of requests to ‘act quickly’, too. Another warning sign is that the email might say ‘dear customer’ when they’d usually use your name,
Think before you click. Don’t open any links, attachments or respond to any requests for personal information. If you’re unsure about an email that appears to be from us, call us on 0345 850 0469.
You might get a phone call that appears to be from a reputable organisation asking for personal information like usernames, passwords or PINS, which could allow criminals to access your accounts.
A legitimate company will never ask you for your PIN, online username or full password. Even if you recognise the number that’s calling, be careful, because it could be fake.
If you’re not sure about phone call that appears to be from us, call us on 0345 850 0469, or report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or actionfraud.police.uk.
Pension scams are designed to persuade you to move funds from your pension into fake investment accounts. This type of scam is more common now that people can access their pension from age 55.
If you're under 55, you might be approached by someone promoting the benefits of early pension release schemes and encouraged to access your pension early. The funds would actually be transferred into overseas schemes (with extortionate fees) or placed into high risk investments. Once the money is transferred, the scammers could take all of your pension.
Early pension release schemes are not authorised by HMRC and withdrawn funds will be charged at anything from 55% to 70% in tax. If you’re considering entering a scheme to access your pension before 55, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recommends seeking professional advice.
Pension cold calling is banned by the FCA. If you’re contacted out of the blue by phone, email or text message by someone you don’t know, it’s probably illegal. If you’re considering an early release pension scheme, it’s a good idea to get independent financial advice from a regulated firm.
Firms that are regulated by the FCA are unlikely to pressure you into making a decision. If they do, you should report them to the FCA straight away. You can check if they’re regulated by searching the Financial Services Register.
If you think you’ve become the victim of a pension scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0345 850 0469 or at actionfraud.police.uk straight away.
Identity theft happens when criminals use your personal information to open accounts, credit cards or take out loans in your name. They might even take control of your existing accounts. But they can only steal your identity if they manage to gather enough information about you.
Avoid putting bank statements, bills and credit card information in the bin where criminals might find them. Dispose of them securely by shredding them. Be careful about the information you post on social media too, like names, addresses and check-in locations. Review your privacy settings and update passwords regularly.
Contact your bank, building society or credit card company straight away on a number you trust. You can also report identify theft to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk.
If you get contacted with an investment opportunity that seems too good to be true, it might be a scam. You might be promised you’ll make money on ‘unique commodities’ like wine, land banking, carbon credits, diamonds and graphite, which usually turn out to be worthless.
No one can guarantee you’ll make money on an investment. Reputable firms especially will never promise that you can. Protect yourself by not making hasty decisions about investment opportunities you don’t know anything about, which might turn out to be fake.
Search the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s list of registered companies to see if the company is real and seek financial advice from a regulated firm. You can also report the company to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk if you think you’ve been scammed.
Cheque fraud can involve altering or tampering with a cheque, counterfeit cheques that look real, forged cheques, which are genuine but stolen, bounced cheques and even invisible ink.
Only accept cheques from people you know and trust, and ask for a different method of payment if it involves a lot of money. Use a pen when writing a cheque and put a line through any empty spaces.
Contact your bank or building society straight away on a number you know if you think you’re a victim of cheque fraud. You can also make a report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk.
A money mule is someone who helps launder money that’s been generated by criminal activity. They might be in on the crime, or have been tricked into it and receive a ‘salary’ or payment they think is from a legitimate company.
Be cautious about job adverts or invitations on social media that promise ‘easy cash’, or requests to carry our transactions through your accounts.
If you have a suspicion someone is laundering money through your Skipton account, please call us on 0345 850 0469. Alternatively, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Doorstep crime usually starts with an unexpected visit from a tradesperson who claims to have spotted a problem on your home that needs fixing. They might say they’ve done work for your neighbours, offer a significant discount in return for a cash payment, or mention government schemes or grants.
Be cautious about people who knock on your door offering any type of service, especially if they say they only take cash payments and try to pressure you into making a decision on the spot.
It's always ok to say no and close the door.
Call the police straight away if you think you’re the victim of a doorstep scam. You can also report crimes to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or your local Trading Standards.
Romance scammers can be found on social media or dating websites and will try to develop a romantic relationship with you. Once they’ve gained your trust, they might ask for money or help paying bills or rent.
Watch out for warning signs like declarations of love after a short period of time. They might also request money for travel costs so they can come and visit you, or to pay for medical treatment for sick relatives, or general requests for cash that become more frequent over time.
You can check their other social media accounts to see if they appear real, and try a reverse image search on their profile picture (TinEye or reverse.photos) to see if they are who they say they are.
Trust your instincts. If you meet someone online and they ask for money, don’t send any, give them your bank details or let them send money to you. They might not be who they say they are. If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and the dating website administrators.
Fraudsters are reliant on you being so eager to book a holiday that you’ll pay less attention when it comes to spending your money. They’ll create listings on websites for accommodation they don’t own, offer fraudulent tickets for flights that don’t exist and take money for excursions that aren’t real. These scams are especially common for caravan holidays in the UK.
When you book tickets and accommodation through a website or social media, check that the web address is exactly as you’d expect it to be and that a padlock symbol appears before the ‘http’ or ‘www’ in your web browser.
Use a credit card where you can to make payments and never pay directly into an individual’s bank account.
Companies that have an ABTA or ATOL logo are regulated, so should be reliable. Check the ABTA Member Search page (for ABTA) or the CAA Website (for ATOL) to see if they’re a member.
You can also check for reviews on sites like tripadvisor.co.uk or Google Maps to see if people have used them before.
Watch out for emails, cold calls and social media messages from criminals pretending to be holiday companies offering a refund. They can steal your information by asking you to click on links or enter your bank details to claim the repayment.
Trust your instincts. If you think you’ve lost some of your Skipton savings to a scammer, get in touch with us on 0345 850 0469. Alternatively, you can report holiday scams to the police by calling the Action Fraud line on 0300 123 2040.
There are lots of places online where you can find more help and information. To help you, we’ve hand-picked some of the most important ones here.
We go through some of the things you can do (and not do!) to stop scammers before they get started.
We’ve invested in keeping your money secure. For a bit of peace of mind, find out we’re doing to look after your funds.
If you’d like to speak to us about any of the information in the SAFE Hub, or you’d like to report suspicious activity, we’re here to help. You can:
Speak to our team today on:
Find your local branch to speak to us in person:
Take Five is a national campaign that offers straight-forward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud.
takefive-stopfraud.org.uk is an external website. Skipton Building Society cannot be held responsible for the content of external websites.
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Site intended for UK residents only. Skipton Building Society is a member of the Building Societies Association. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, under registration number 153706, for accepting deposits, advising on and arranging mortgages and providing Restricted financial advice. Principal Office, The Bailey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1DN.