Bank fraud is on the rise in the UK. Here's how you can protect yourself against financial scams
In this Guide
Financial fraud is one of the most common crimes in the UK. According to some figures, one in ten adults has been the victim of some form of cyber-attack. It’s becoming an increasing problem for the UK and its economy. Not only that, but banks are now advising customers that they won’t always compensate customers who have been careless. As such, it’s vital that you know what bank fraud is and how you can protect against it.
…banks are now advising customers that they won’t always compensate customers who have been careless.
In this article, we look at how you can keep your money safe against bank fraud. We also outline the steps you need to take in the event that you become a victim of such a financial violation.
What is Bank Fraud?
There are many kinds of scams and fraudulent activity that fall under the term of bank fraud. Whether it’s having your bank card cloned or having your identity stolen, scammers will sometimes go to great lengths to steal your money. Although internet and mobile banking have made managing your finances a whole lot easier, it’s also made people more vulnerable to fraud. Thankfully, in many situations, your bank will refund you should any money be taken from you by illegal means.
Bank fraud can take many forms. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most popular ones:
Authorised Push Payment Scams (APP)
This is where the account holder is made to authorise a payment to another bank account. For example, you may get a call or email that manipulates you to revealing your financial information. The correspondence may come from a source impersonating your bank or other financial institution.
Card Not Present Fraud
This term refers to when stolen card information is used by criminals. Often, this is the result of a data breach or hack. Again, text messages or phishing emails can be used to gain these details.
Stolen Card Fraud
If you misplace your card or someone takes it from you, it can be used against your wishes. With contactless payments, this is a growing problem.
Cash Machine Fraud
Criminals can use devices that attach to ATM machines to scan your card and PIN number. This then allows them to either make a copy of your card or steal the card and use it to make withdrawals. Other scams involve distracting you while you use the cash machine or installing a camera to observe your PIN.
Internet and Mobile Fraud
Many high-street banks offer internet and mobile app banking. If criminals can gain access to these, they can make unauthorised transactions out of your account. Often, they will try and dupe you to handing over your log-in details.
Keeping Your Money Safe
With such a wide array of ways to part you with your money, you may feel like it’s impossible to protect against bank fraud. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to help keep your money and your personal details safe. We’ve outlined some of our top tips below:
Stay Safe Online
Computer viruses and malware can wreak havoc on your finances if left unchecked. People are often targeted by wide phishing scams where emails are sent to large databases of customers. They’ll usually have an attachment or link that you have to click or open.
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You should never open or click on anything that comes from people you don’t know and trust. Scammers are crafty, however. They’ll often disguise their emails to appear as if they come from PayPal, the UK government, Amazon, or your bank. Make sure you check the actual email address rather than just the name in the subject line. Also, if they’re telling you something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Make sure you check the actual email address rather than just the name in the subject line.
Installing anti-virus and anti-malware software is also a good idea. These can act as a line of defence against attempts at fraud. They will block links, emails, and attachments that could be potentially harmful.
Social media is becoming ingrained in our lives. However, over-sharing your details on here can make you an easy target for fraudsters. Never share personal or sensitive information about your finances online.
Be Vigilant Using Your Card
It can be easy for scammers to copy (skim) your card when you’re physically using it. They often use attachments on ATM machines that will capture your card information and PIN number. Make sure you properly assess the machine before you use it. Look for anything that might be covering the card slot or anything that looks like a camera. If you’re unsure or something seems amiss, don’t use the ATM.
Similarly, keep an eye out to make sure no one is watching you as you use your card. If you suspect someone is trying to observe you enter your PIN or distract you, walk away and ask for help.
Check Your Statements
This is solid advice from a financial planning point of view but also helps you spot any potential fraud. Keep your receipts and check them off against your bank statements. You can either wait for your physical monthly statement or check online if you have internet banking.
If you notice any discrepancies or transactions you’re not sure about, investigate further. If you suspect something is amiss, you’ll need to contact your bank.
What to Do if You’re Targeted
Provided you’ve not been negligent, your bank should refund you any money that has been taken fraudulently. However, you’ll need to know the correct process and act quickly. Fraud claims can only be made within the first 13 months of the theft.
Contact your bank
The first thing you’ll need to do is contact your bank. Whether it’s because you’ve lost your card, suspect fraudulent transactions have been made, or your details have been compromised. Give them as much detail as you can, and they will look into the matter. If you’ve lost your credit or debit card, you may be liable for the first £50 that’s used on it. However, banks will generally waive this fee if you report it swiftly.
You should also report the fraud to Action Fraud, either online or by phone. They can give you further advice about the situation. Additionally, you may want to report any financial scams to the Financial Conduct Authority.
Hopefully, your bank will resolve the matter for you straight away. However, in some instances, they may need to investigate further. If they feel you have been negligent in the matter, they may refuse to pay you. If you believe the case has been unfairly resolved, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service to mediate the argument for you.