Common Email & Phone Scams And How To Avoid Them | M&S Bank

Common scams

Phishing

Phishing scams are used by fraudsters pretending to be from M&S Bank, or other financial institutions, and involve sending unsolicited emails to lure unsuspecting people into handing over their personal details. These emails often contain links to fake websites or online banking login pages that request you to enter your personal details – this could be your password, card details or memorable information. By entering your personal details on these sites, you are providing a fraudster details necessary to access your account.

Look out for the following signs of a phishing email:

  • They often contain spelling errors or random capitalisation (eg bAnk 0nline with M&s Bank).
  • They're mostly sent in bulk – so the email might not be addressed to you personally.
  • They often ask you to click on a link to confirm or validate your security details.
  • Some ask you to send money to a worthy cause.

Protect yourself

Do not reply to or click on a link in an email that you are not sure is genuine. Instead contact the company, using a known telephone number.

If you think you've responded to a phishing email or given out your details to anyone, please call our Customer Services team on 0345 900 0900. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Vishing

'Vishing' involves a fraudster phoning a potential victim and posing as someone from a bank or building society, the police or another trusted, legitimate company. The call is made either to persuade or coerce the victim into transferring money from their account to another account for "safekeeping" or "holding", to withdraw cash and hand it over "for investigation" or to try to get financial information, such as credit or debit card details (including PIN), bank account details and personal information such as full name, date of birth or address. Then they use this information to gain access to their victim's finances.

It's important to remember:

  • Fraudsters can use "call spoofing" to deliberately falsify the telephone number shown on your caller ID to show as a genuine bank number.
  • Be wary of unsolicited approaches by phone, especially if you are asked to provide any personal information.
  • If you are suspicious or feel vulnerable, don't be afraid to end the call and refuse requests for information.
  • M&S Bank will never call you unexpectedly to ask you to generate a security code on your M&S PASS or ask for your PIN number.
  • Never share your security details with anyone else.

Protect yourself

To allow us to get in touch if there is any suspicious activity on your account, please make sure you keep your contact details with us up-to-date, including a mobile telephone number.

If you think you've given out your details to anyone, or been the victim of a scam, please call our Customer Services team on 0345 900 0900. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Courier scams

Some fraudsters will phone on your landline claiming to be from your bank or credit card company and tell you that your account has been compromised. They may say that your card needs to be sent for 'forensic testing' and arrange for a courier to collect it. They may also ask you to write down your PIN and hand it over as well. To add credibility the fraudster may even advise you to cut the card in half.

Don't forget:

  • M&S Bank will never ask for your card and/or PIN to be returned via courier.
  • You should never share your PIN with anyone, even someone claiming to work for the bank.
  • M&S Bank's fraud detection teams will only ever ask for partial information; for example, they will never ask for your mother's full maiden name or full date of birth.

Protect yourself

To allow us to get in touch if there is any suspicious activity on your account, please make sure you keep your contact details with us up-to-date, including a mobile telephone number.

If you think you've given out your details to anyone, or been the victim of a scam, please call our Customer Services team on 0345 900 0900. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Investment or "Boiler room" scams

This type of scam involves a fraudster making a cold call to potential investors (victims) offering too-good-to-be-true investment opportunities when they're actually selling worthless, overpriced or even non-existent shares. These scams can take many forms, but there are some common factors you should look out for including:

  • Unsolicited approaches
  • Unrealistically high returns offered for "low risk" investments
  • Lack of independent evidence of the validity of the scheme
  • Pressure to make quick decisions
  • Instructions to keep the approach confidential
  • Approaches from someone whose only contact details consist of a mobile phone number

Protect yourself

Don't respond to callers trying to sell you investments over the phone – simply hang up.

Only deal with FCA registered stockbrokers.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Pension liberation or fraud

If you're over 55, since April 2015 changes in the law allow you to access your pension savings. You now have control of your pension pot and can decide how to invest the money. Pension liberation involves transferring pension funds from an existing scheme to a new one, to allow early access to benefits before the legal age of 55. Scammers may target you to try and steal your pension savings by persuading you to cash out your pension and put your money into fraudulent and unregulated investments with the promise of high returns.

Protect yourself

Be alert to offers like this and if in doubt seek advice from registered pension providers.

Calls are recorded.