Common Scams

Cash machine (ATM) scams

Thieves tamper with cash machines (ATMs) by installing cameras to record the four-digit PIN and install other devices which retain your card. The cash machines often appear normal. Fraudsters may also try to obtain the PIN for your cards by looking over your shoulder as you enter it at an ATM or when making purchases in shops. This is known as “shoulder surfing”. As a precaution, you should always try to shield the keypad with your free hand.
If an ATM does not return your card, it is imperative that you call the bank immediately. It may be a fault or the ATM may have been compromised. Someone will always be available to take your call. Fraudsters may try to shoulder surf you for your PIN and then distract you. By diverting your attention at the ATM, fraudsters may swap your bank card with a fake one and then use your card and PIN in combination to perpetrate fraud. If you feel uncomfortable with an encounter at an ATM, call the bank immediately.

Theft of mail/identity theft

A fraudster may try to obtain your personal and/or financial information by gaining access to your mail or household rubbish. Mail can be stolen from a communal mail box, from within the postal system or from your own letter box. Fraudsters can even arrange for mail to be redirected from your address or they may even collect your mail at a previously registered address.

If you believe that you have not been receiving your mail from the bank then please report this to your Relationship Manager on 0207 353 4522 or if you think that your mail has been redirected then call the Royal Mail Customer Service line 0345 774 0740 to check if a redirection has been put in place.

CEO fraud

This is when a fraudster sends a payment instruction, typically over email, to a member of the Finance team or a P.A. pretending to be the CEO or another senior member of staff. The scam relies on the assumption that the payment will not be verified or challenged back to the member of staff. Some reported cases have been successful even when the email account has not been directly compromised. In the past, fraudsters have created an email account name which closely resembles the genuine account and have been successful.

Point of sale scams

Retail staff should never take your bank card out of your sight, even momentarily. Thieves can copy a card in a second by swiping it through a criminal’s card reader. If you think your card may have been copied please call us.

Cheque frauds

There has been an increase in cheques being intercepted and altered. If you suspect that any of your cheques have gone astray, particularly in the post, or you discover that some cheques are missing from your cheque books, please telephone the bank immediately.

Mortgage frauds

If you live overseas or rent out a property, you should register for alerts with the Land Registry. You will then be notified if there are any changes to the registry, such as a fraudster attempting to sell the property. You should be especially cautious of this type of fraud if a tenant pays a substantial amount of the rent in advance. You may also consider putting restrictions on your title. Details of this service can be found at this website:

Investment scams

There are various companies which will research your circumstances thoroughly to suggest investments which seem tailored to your needs, but are actually scams with no investment or asset to sell. Always check with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) if a company is registered before investing your funds.

Winning lottery scams

The bank plays no part in any lottery, nor do we hold our own lotteries. These scams, normally initiated through email but sometimes by letter or facsimile, are known as ‘advance fee frauds’ and request that an administration fee is paid to release the lottery winnings. Please do not reply to these, just destroy or delete them from your inbox.