Latest threats

Latest threats

Things to watch out for

Security Latest scams

Customers can be targeted by unscrupulous fraudsters, and sometimes told not to trust bank staff. These fraudsters may offer exciting 'investment opportunities' or maybe offer to undertake unsolicited building work on your home, so beware.


-We will never ask you to enter your full PIN or password when logging into Digital Banking

-We will never ask you for more information such as your account number, card number or address when logging into Digital Banking

-We never ask you to use your Card Reader when you log into Digital Banking

Report fraud to us
Common threats Look out for these scams

The best way to avoid becoming a victim of scams is to be in the know. We’re delighted to be working with the Metropolitan Police to bring you this informative guide that gives your information about latest scams.

The Little Book of Big Scams Edition 3




Bogus Boss Scam

Bogus Boss

How to spot a phishing scam

Fake anti-virus software Beware of fake anti-virus adverts

Fake anti-virus software (also known as scareware) is often promoted via online adverts which falsely warn users their computer's security has been compromised. They then offer downloadable software that promises to clean up the infected computer. 

As well as paying for this fake software, once it's downloaded it is often used to steal personal information from your computer.

Remember: Protect yourself by using anti-virus software from a reputable company such as Trend, Kaspersky, Panda, Norton or Mcafee.

Money mules Watch out for offers of one-off payments

Sometimes fraudsters will approach people offering one-off payments or a series of payments in return for their account details. This is because they want to use your account to 'launder' money that's been obtained from illegal activities, without you knowing that they are fraudsters and that what they are asking you to do is illegal. Approaches are normally made by spam emails, adverts on genuine recruitment websites, instant messaging and newspaper adverts. 

More about money mules
Security Money mules

Money mules receive funds into their account which they then withdraw and send overseas using a wire transfer service.

How to avoid becoming a money mule

  • Never respond to this type of request, no matter how attractive the payments may seem
  • Remember that assisting a criminal transfer of money may make you subject to a criminal investigation, which could lead to prosecution
Advance fee scams Had a letter about a large sum of money?

These scams involve emails or letters sent out offering people a large reward if they help to transfer a large sum of money.

The emails or letters often say the money has come from bribes, government accounts or is unclaimed money from someone who has recently died. They ask you to send your bank details and pay an 'advance fee' to complete the deal. If you pay the advance fee you then don't receive any money in return, and you have no way of getting your money back. 

Investment scams If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

There are a number of investment scams offering huge potential gains, but in reality the investments may not even exist.

More about investment scams
Security Investment fraud and scams

Investment fraud and scams

It's estimated that £1.2bn is lost each year in the UK to Investment Fraud. High yield investments have become attractive to online fraudsters due to higher returns.

Ponzi and Pyramid schemes

These schemes promise you high returns or dividends not usually available through traditional investments. The schemes collapse when new investors dry up, and investors usually find most or all of their money is gone.

A Ponzi schemer will ask you to invest in something, whereas a Pyramid schemer encourages you to recruit new investors for a commission. These scams can also be called franchise fraud, multi-level marketing or a chain referral scheme.

Often Ponzi or Pyramid schemes are used when committing Affinity fraud, which occurs when criminals target members of a group – such as community, religious, ethnic, elderly or professional groups. The fraudsters pretend to be members of the group they are targeting sometimes over the course of years, making the scams emotionally as well as financially damaging.

Share sale scams (boiler room fraud)

A Share Scam (also known as Boiler Room Fraud) is a scam that tries to persuade you to invest in what is essentially a worthless scheme, and usually begins with a cold call.

The fraudster will appear professional, knowledgeable and sympathetic, and the company they represent often sounds very similar to a well known financial company.

The shares they attempt to sell you won't be quoted on the stock exchange and will be virtually impossible to sell. You may find when you try to contact the fraudster who sold you the 'shares' they have disappeared, making it near impossible to recover any losses.

Criminals will often cold call victims of Boiler Room Fraud offering to help them recover the money they have lost in an attempt to take more money from them.

If you are unsure or concerned remember to seek independent legal and/or financial advice.

Carbon credit schemes

These schemes are a scam where a firm tries to sell you carbon credit certificates or get you to invest directly in a 'green' scheme that will generate carbon credits as a return on your investment.

Carbon credits are sold and traded legitimately from many reputable firms, however fraudsters have picked up on this, meaning an increased number of firms using dubious, high-pressure sales tactics.

More information can be found about different types of carbon credits and how the market has developed from an investigation the FSA conducted in 2011.

Land banking scams

Fraudsters lead you to believe that you are investing in land that will significantly increase in value. They will tell you:

-the plots are in areas with high house prices
-the government intends to increase housing on this land
-the land has already been allocated for development

Like many investment frauds, Land banking scams often take place through high-pressured telephone calls, although they can be via websites, email, mailings or brochures.
The reality is you are being sold land that has no development potential, doesn't belong to the 'seller' or doesn't even exist.

If you are looking to purchase land:
-be sure to always contact the local council of the land
-check who owns the land according to the Land Registry
-check if the land has planning permission

Tips to help you protect yourself

-Always consider taking independent/legal advice before you commit to an investment
-The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also have a list of businesses that they believe are involved in fraudulent activities. You can check this at:
-Check the company is registered at Companies House and the details the caller gives you match up - Does the caller have a track record that can be verified by an independent party?
-The FCA has also produced a factsheet on how to avoid share fraud

If you think you've been targeted

-If the suspect is very near, or as a victim you feel at immediate risk, call 999
-If a police reponse is needed (eg for victim care) or you can easily identify the suspect, call 101 or visit your local police station
-If you spot anything suspicious or want to report an investment scam, contact Action Fraud on or 0300 123 2040

Stay safe Hints and tips

Read our hints and tips so you can see how to keep yourself safe, including enabling firewalls, PINs and passwords on your device.

Read our hints and tips
Security Hints and tips
  • Keep your computer's security up to date and download our free security software
  • Install anti-virus software on your computer and keep it up to date
  • Many such packages include anti-spyware software to stop fraudsters being able to see your personal information
  • Make sure the firewall on your computer is turned on, and that it's set to monitor incoming and outgoing internet traffic.
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