Fraudsters and scammers have taken huge advantage of the pandemic to prosper. Data from the first lockdown has seen Action Fraud report a 29% rise of clone firm investment scams with the average loss being a staggering £45,000. Meanwhile, UK Finance recorded more than 15,000 cases of impersonation scams in the first half of 2020, nearly double what it has been previously. At Metro Bank we want our customers and those in our communities to know how best to beat the scammers and avoid becoming victim to fraud. Follow our top tips to beat the fraudsters:
If it’s too good to be true, it usually is
We’ve all seen some good deals or offers online before, but these few steps will ensure you are buying a legitimate item(s) from a reputable seller:
- Don’t click through on social media – visit the seller’s website independently to ensure you are not visiting a fake site.
- If you see an item for sale online, always offer to pay on collection to ensure you receive what you’re paying for.
- When it comes to the payment always try to pay ideally with a credit card or through a trusted merchant provider.
- Have a look at independent reviews of the website or seller to check other people have been satisfied with their purchases and confirmed receipt of the goods.
Don’t be tricked into sending your money to the wrong place
Scammers will try to convince you to send funds to an account which they control. They do this using many methods such as impersonating your bank, acting as a police officer, as HMRC, or even pretending to be your manager at work. They can intercept communication channels and amend payment details so remember:
- Metro Bank will never ask you to transfer your money to a ‘safe account’.
- Don’t be pressurised on a phone call to act immediately with any transfer of money.
- Be aware that scammers can spoof telephone numbers to appear as though they are calling from a recognised and trusted number such as a bank or HMRC.
- Ask the caller to confirm who they are, terminate the call and call the number on the back of your bank card.
- Consider if this payment or activity is unexpected and look for differentiating details/errors that the scammer may make. Has a large sum of money been taken from your account when you hadn’t authorised it?
- Immediately change your online banking credentials to ensure scammers don’t have access to your log ins and passwords.
- Don't pay an invoice you weren’t expecting or accept new account details, without checking them out with the originator on a confirmed genuine contact number.
- Always verify payments through a different communication channel and through a trusted email address/phone number.
- If you receive a suspicious looking message – even if it looks like it’s from your bank – take action. At Metro Bank we ask you take a screenshot and send it to ReportFraud@metrobank.plc.uk so we can investigate.
When considering an investment opportunity
We all want to make sound financial investments, but when considering an investment opportunity always take precautions.
- Visit FCA investment warning list https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart/warning-list to check if this type of investment is a known scam. Remember, if a company isn’t on the warning list, it doesn’t mean they are genuine, further research must be done.
- Always make sure you invest through a reputable and reliable investment company.
- Research the company you're investing with and review all documents before committing to an investment.
- Verify your independent financial adviser (IFA) and check they are on the FCA register on https://register.fca.org.uk before trusting them with your money.
At Metro Bank, we’re committed to ensuring our customers are safe and protected from fraud. For even more ways to keep safe online, check out our website: https://www.metrobankonline.co.uk/ways-to-bank/i-want-some-information-about/fraud-and-security/.
Metro Bank actively supports UK Finance’s ‘Take Five’ fraud awareness campaign. For more information on the campaign, please visit: https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/about/uk-finance/.