Spotting scams

Helpful hints and tips to protect yourself

Common scams and how to avoid them

Scammers are always looking for new clever and convincing ways to trick people, so keep up to date with the latest updates and keep your personal and banking details safe. 

Fake emails

Known as phishing

Emails pretending to be from legitimate sources, however that are asking you to give away personal or private information.

Fake telephone calls

Known as vishing

Phone calls from fraudsters that encourage you to give out personal details, such as your debit card number or card reader codes.

Fake text messages

Known as smishing

When a fraudster sends a text message to try and trick you into giving away your personal and security information.

Identity theft

Identity theft is when a fraudster steals your personal information, usually so they can use it to impersonate you.

Examples of fake text messages

WhatsApp family impersonation scam

The fraudster will send a message from a phone number you don't recognise and begin a conversation with something non-specific, e.g. ‘Hi buddy’ and claim that they've lost their phone. Normally they'll say they need funds urgently, i.e. to pay a bill and ask you to transfer money.

Delivery scams

You receive a message stating a driver has tried to deliver your parcel and asking you to click a link to reschedule. You're then asked to enter sensitive info like your date of birth, mobile number and card details. If you submit personal data, scammers could use it to call you up or access your bank account. 

Fake messages impersonating the bank

These text messages claim to be from NatWest International and will advise you to click the link in the message. The link will then take you to a site where they'll ask you to enter your banking information and steal it.

Examples of fake telephone calls


Criminals impersonating the bank or police is one of the most common scams we see. It can have a devastating impact on victims so it's vital you can spot these before it's too late.

Remote access fraud

A caller may claim there's an issue with your computer and insist on taking remote control to fix it. This may enable them to have access to your personal information such as your card details and PIN.

Examples of fake emails

Fake invoices

Where account details on an invoice are changed, or emails are intercepted, so the money is wrongly paid into the scammer’s account.

Fake advance fee requests

This is where you’re convinced by a scammer to pay an upfront fee in order to receive a prize/service, high-value goods or loans which never materialise.

Examples of investment fraud

Pension scams

The fraudster will encourage you to move pension funds with the promise of better returns and then the funds are usually stolen.

Fake investments

Criminals encourage you to invest in their schemes, often making promises of great returns, which often don't exist or are worthless.

Cryptocurrency scams

Emails asking for or blackmailing you for funds. They include: referral schemes, bogus investment and business opportunities.

Other types of scams

ATM fraud

Criminals can use various methods, such as inserting a device into a cash machine, to steal your bank details or your debit/credit card.

Social engineering

A fraudster will use social media to convince someone that they are trustworthy to obtain money or personal information from them.

SIM-swapping scams

A SIM swapping scam is when a scammer will try and transfer your phone number to another device for financial gain.

Direct debit fraud

Criminals advertise fake services online with how to get quick cash for cancelling a direct debit, which can leave you out of pocket.

Doorstep fraud

A doorstep scammer visits your home in the hope of scamming you out of your money or stealing items from your house.

Romance scam

A scammer will use a fake profile to form a relationship with you to obtain money or your personal information to steal your identity.