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Protect yourself and your money from fraud

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Let’s fight fraud

Fraudsters are getting more and more creative, and building societies and banks have recently seen an increase in the number of customers targeted with financial scams by fraudsters.

Fraudsters deceive people into handing over their money, account assets (e.g. debit/ATM cards) or personal details, allowing them to gain access to victims’ money or commit fraud in their name. Read on to find out more about different types of fraud scams, and what you can do to protect yourself and your money. When you’ve finished reading our advice, don’t stop there. Spread the word to your loved ones; you might prevent them becoming a victim too.

Telephone ‘vishing’

The scam:

A fraudster calls claiming to be from a bank/building society, the police, utility company or IT company and informs the victim there’s a problem with their account or computer.

How it works:

The victim is advised that to protect their money, they need to do one of the following:

  • transfer money to another account and provides the fraudsters with bank details for a ‘safe’ account that has been opened for them
  • give their card and PIN number to a courier who will come to their home to collect it
  • allow the fraudsters remote access to the computer to log onto their Internet Banking
  • provide details of their debit/credit card so a refund/payment can be made.

In all of these cases the actions of the victim allow the fraudster access to their money.


The scam:

Emails are sent with links to fake websites encouraging people into entering personal, login/card details, or account information.

How it works:

Victims may also run the risk of their computer or smartphone being infected by viruses. Once details are entered, criminals then record this information and use it to commit identity theft and bank fraud.


The scam:

This is when fraudsters obtain personal details of a victim by SMS text messages.

How it works:

SMS phishing uses text messages to convince people to divulge their personal information (full debit card or bank account details). Fraudsters can go on to use this personal information to commit fraud.


The scam:

Victims think they’ve met their perfect partner online, when in reality they are fraudsters.

How it works:

Once the fraudster is confident they’ve gained the victim’s trust, they will tell them about an emotive problem they are experiencing, or a wish to visit the victim, and ask them for money to help. When the victim sends money, the fraudster will often come back with reasons to send them even more money.

Bogus tradesmen

The scam:

A salesman uses clever tactics to pressurise you into buying something you don’t want or something that’s poor value for money on your doorstep.

How it works:

Bogus tradesmen promote goods or services that are never delivered to you or are of a very poor quality. They can often convince victims they need work doing that isn’t needed or may bill them for work that they didn’t agree to.

There are specific laws about door-to-door sales in which many are required to give you a ‘cooling-off’ period (where you can change your mind or request your money back). Bogus tradesmen will offer none of these, and even if they do, you can be sure their ‘guarantee’ will not be honoured.

They provide false contact information, making it impossible for you to identify or contact them. If you’ve paid them in advance, you won’t get your money back. Once they get through your door, fraudulent salespeople can take note of your valuables and any security measures you have in place.

Advance fee fraud

The scam:

Advance fee scams are when fraudsters target victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services and/or financial gains that do not materialise.

How it works:

The victim applies for a loan and is advised they must pay a ‘fee’ in advance of the loan money being sent or the victim is advised they have won the lottery or a prize but must pay a ‘fee’ in advance of receiving this. The victim either sends money direct to the fraudster’s account or is advised to purchase ‘gift cards’ and contact the fraudster with the code numbers. In all instances the victim never receives their money or prize.

Mortgages – change to solicitor’s bank details

The scam:

Fraudsters hack into the email chains between house buyers and their solicitors to divert money that was supposed to be used to purchase a house.

How it works:

The fraudster, posing as the house buyer’s solicitor, sends an email to the house buyer notifying them their bank account details have changed. The house buyers send their money to the new bank account which has been set up by the fraudster, rather than their solicitor’s genuine bank account.

Fake websites

The scam:

Fraudsters set up fake websites or adverts offering holidays or other goods for sale at an incredibly cheap rate.

How it works:

The victim views the website or advert, which has pictures of the holiday accommodation or goods that don’t actually exist. The victim communicates with fraudsters and purchases the holiday/goods. They are requested to send the money by bank transfer, Moneywise or Western Union rather than paying by debit/credit card or PayPal.

Fake invoices

The scam:

Fraudsters send a fake invoice or bill to a company, requesting payment for goods or services.

How it works:

The invoice might state that the due date for the payment has passed, or threaten that non-payment will affect credit rating to encourage the receiver to pay the invoice.

Courier fraud

The scam:

Someone pretending to be from your bank or building society contacts you and convinces you to tell them your card details. They arrange for a courier to pick up your card to take it away for evidence or to be destroyed. The card is collected by the fraudsters to withdraw money from your account.

How it works:

They say their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment on your card or it needs to be replaced. They then ask you to read out your credit or debit card PIN or type it on your phone keypad as well as other personal information. They try to offer you peace of mind by sending a courier to you to collect your bank card. The fraudster will have personal details to withdraw cash using the card and can use the information to commit identity fraud in your name.

Holiday booking

The scam:

When a person pays a travel agent or agency, or someone offering short-term lodging for rent or a holiday online but the holiday they’ve booked (or parts of it) doesn’t exist.

How it works:

Fraudsters use fake online adverts, bogus sales calls, emails and text messages offering incredibly cheap rates to tempt you in to booking a holiday with them. They may steal images of hotels or rented apartments from other travel websites and pass them off as their own. You’re told to pay in cash or via a bank transfer, such as MoneyWise or Western Union, which can be difficult to trace and isn’t refundable. In some cases, the fraudster may completely end contact after you’ve paid and won’t confirm anything you’ve booked; the holiday they’ve offered doesn’t exist.

Career opportunities

The scam:

A business opportunity which claims to offer a quick way to make a lot of money from home without having any qualifications, skills or expertise is advertised.

How it works:

Before starting any work, the victim has to pay money upfront, usually in the form of a registration fee or to enable the ‘employer’ to buy goods. After this money has been paid, the victim either finds that there is no work to do or they will not be paid for any work done.

Phone number spoofing/Caller ID scam

The scam:

Fraudsters making people believe the caller they are speaking to a trusted organisation by fooling their phones into displaying a number the fraudster choose.

How it works:

Fraudsters clone the telephone number of the organisation they want to impersonate and then make it appear on the victim’s caller ID display when they telephone them. They then pose as bank, credit card company or government department and ask for personal information. The fraudsters will then gain the person’s trust by highlighting the telephone number to them, claiming that this is proof of their identity, before trying to scam them in various ways.

Fake pension advice

The scam:

Sophisticated marketing techniques, including cold calling, text messages, website pop-ups or even door-step selling, convince victims to have a free pension review.

How it works:

The review promises higher returns on their investment, but rather than transferring their fund to the new investment, the fund goes to the fraudster’s account instead.

Share fraud and boiler room

The scam:

‘Boiler rooms’ full of sales people using high pressure cold calling techniques to sell worthless or overpriced shares.

How it works:

Contact can come by phone, email, post or through advertising. People who own shares in a company may receive a call offering to buy them, usually at a higher price than their market value. This may come with a request for money up front, which the fraudsters claim will be paid back if the sale doesn’t progress. In reality, the victim never hears from the fraudsters again.

Contact us

If you are concerned that:

  • you may have disclosed any confidential information to an unknown third party
  • you believe a transaction on your account is fraudulent
  • you become a victim of identity theft
  • you have any concerns about security

Please contact us immediately by phoning 0345 850 4041

More information

For more information on current fraud scams, please visit the following websites:

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What you should do to protect yourself

  • Never reveal your password to anyone or write it down, unless you’re using an authorised online Third Party Provider.  Additional information on accessing your account(s) through a TPP can be found here.
  • Do not use a password that could be easily guessed by someone else
  • Change your password immediately if you suspect someone else could know it
  • Log off from the Chelsea website when you have completed your transaction
  • Keep your PC updated with current anti-virus software, the latest browser versions and relevant security patches/updates
  • Use a firewall to protect your PC from hacking attacks
  • Do not send us any confidential account information via email
  • Make sure we have your correct email address and check your inbox regularly for new messages
  • Make sure we have your correct telephone number, in case we need to contact you about unusual activity on your account.
  • Beware of 'phishing' emails or texts. Do not respond to these messages or open any links or attachments within them. If you receive an email or text message you were not expecting, please contact us using a number you have verified as genuine. Click here for more information about phishing and smishing scams
  • Download ourProtect yourself from Identity Theft and Fraud (519 KB)  guide.
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