Latest scam warnings

Stay one step ahead of fraudsters by keeping updated on the latest scams

Beware Ukraine scams

For customers wishing to offer their support to those impacted by the situation in Ukraine we would encourage you to donate via registered charities; not all websites and fundraising pages will be genuine.

As always, our advice is to remain vigilant and follow the advice noted in our useful fraud information.

We're helping charities to support those affected by the situation in Ukraine, find out how you can support

At M&S Bank we work hard to help you stay one step ahead of fraudsters and on this page you can keep updated about the latest types of scams.

Cost of living scams

Fraudsters will try to take advantage of the cost of living crisis and might get in contact about a range of issues affecting us all. They might pretend to represent local councils offering financial support, energy companies, or retailers offering too-good-to-be-true discounts, or direct you to fake loan websites or offers.

The rising cost of energy is also leading to scammers contacting consumers about energy price offers and refunds. If someone gets in touch about an offer for a great energy price deal or a refund, don't click on any links or give them any personal information over the phone. Genuine companies will understand if you want to look into the offer, or call back on a number you can find on their website.

If you're looking for retail offers and discounts, be wary of offers that seem too good to be true. Use reputable discount websites by typing the address in rather than using a search engine, or go directly to the retailer.

Remember, never disclose your security details such as a PINs, One Time Passcodes (OTPs), Passwords or Bank Details, only a fraudster would ask for these.

If you think you've been a victim of fraud, please contact us immediately either online or via the phone on 0345 900 0900.

Vishing scams

As people are more available at home during lockdown, criminals are exploiting the situation with vishing scams.

'Vishing' involves a fraudster phoning a potential victim and posing as someone from your bank, the police, HMRC or another trusted, legitimate company.

Their objective is to trick you into moving your money or giving up sensitive information such as your online password or ‘one time passcodes' to enable the fraudsters to transfer money to an account under their control or purchase valuable goods online.

Always remember M&S Bank will never ask you to disclose your security details such as your PIN, online password or temporary 'one time passcodes' and would never ask you to move your funds to a "safe account".

Top Tips:

  • Don't give in to pressure - If someone tries to force you into giving up sensitive information, hang up the phone.
  • Stay calm and don't panic - Since these criminals frequently play on your emotions, keep calm and hang up the phone. If you still feel anxious, wait 10 minutes and then call your bank, credit card company, or whoever the caller claimed to be on a number you can trust to check if there is a real problem.
  • Be sceptical at all times - Even if the Caller ID matches the name or number of a bank, charity, or some other company or organisation, it could be a trick.

Direct Debit scam

Criminals are circulating a scam on social media sites which promotes the reclaiming of direct debits on accounts in order to quickly make money.

Victims of this scam are asked to provide their bank account details to criminals acting as a Third Party on their behalf. The scammer will then contact the bank, advising to cancel one or more existing Direct Debit payments and claim back already paid money, taking a fee for their "service".

Unfortunately, any money refunded is still owed by the victim and will likely be reclaimed by the company in a future Direct Debit payment. Resulting in the victim losing out on the money paid as a ‘fee’ to the criminal.

Remember, never disclose your security details such as a PINs, Passwords or Bank Details, only a fraudster would ask for these.

If you think you've been a victim of fraud, please contact us immediately either online or via the phone on 0345 900 0900.

Cryptocurrency scams

Fraudsters may tempt you with investment opportunities in cryptocurrencies.

Beware of cold callers and adverts on social media advertising crypto assets, in particular promises of high returns and pressure to invest quickly.

Some scams claim to be investing in cryptocurrency, but they’re not paying a wallet provider. If they are paying a wallet provider, check the following:

  • how do you know the wallet is in your name and only you have access to it?
  • if the payment does go to a wallet you control, why are you being asked to move your currency to another wallet?
  • how can you keep the contents of your wallet secure and never share access details with anyone else?

Always conduct your own due diligence prior to investing any funds. The FCA website provides details around crypto assets and also has a list of all regulated companies.

You can find out more about cryptocurrency scams from the national cybercrime reporting centre ActionFraud.

Delivery scams

Criminals are sending fake text messages and emails claiming to be from a delivery company.

They say they tried to deliver a parcel to you and ask you to click on a link to find out more or rearrange delivery.

Don't click on any links or give any information, especially personal or financial details.

If you think the message may be genuine, open a separate window and visit the company's website using an address that you know is safe. Once there, you can enter your tracking number to see if the message was genuine.

If you think the message isn't genuine, delete it.

Never give any information if you're contacted unexpectedly by email, phone or text. Contact the company separately using a phone number you trust.

Please call us immediately on 0345 900 0900 if you think you've been a victim of this scam.

Impersonation scams

Impersonation scams, where criminals pretend to be from organisations we know and trust, are becoming much more common. They often start with a phone call, email or text informing you:

  • you’re eligible for a coronavirus vaccine
  • your National Insurance number has been compromised
  • you’re eligible for a tax rebate from HMRC
  • there’s been a suspicious transaction on your card or bank account
  • your account with a retailer has been compromised

Whatever the reason given for contacting you, if it’s a scam, they’re trying to trick you into giving them money or personal/financial details and they’ll often try to pressure you into taking action immediately.

Criminals sometimes make the call seem more authentic by using ‘number spoofing’. This makes their phone number look like one you know and trust.

Remember, never disclose your security details such as a PIN, online password or temporary 'one time passcodes’, only a fraudster would ask for these.

To help protect yourself from fraud, find out more about impersonation scams by downloading our scams leaflet (PDF, 255KB).

Romance scams

Around Valentine’s Day, fraudsters are known to target victims in what is often known as a ‘romance’ scam. With Covid-19 keeping us mainly at home right now, this scam is becoming more common, and not just at this time of year.

Criminals will set up fake profiles on dating websites, apps and social media in an attempt to build a relationship with you. They’ll put time and effort into gaining your trust before eventually asking for money, perhaps claiming they need it for Covid-19 related medical fees or because they’ve lost their job and are struggling to pay bills, for example.

Never send money to someone you’ve only met online.

If you think you may have been the victim of a scam, report it to us as soon as soon as possible by calling 0345 900 0900. You should also report it to Action Fraud.

Authorised push payment scams

Recently, we've seen an increase in authorised push payment (APP) scams, also known as bank transfer scams, which happen when fraudsters trick victims into unknowingly transferring money into an account they control.

Usually, fraudsters gain access to a victim's information via a hacked email account and then contact them pretending to be someone the victim does business with or posing as a trusted organisation – such as the police or HMRC.

For example, some scammers will say they're calling from your bank's fraud team about a security issue and ask you to authorise a payment into a ‘safe account'. Others will pretend to be a contractor they know you've hired after gleaning information from your email - such as an estate agent, solicitor or driveway repair company - and trick you into paying an expected invoice into their account instead.

Always remember, M&S Bank will never ask you to disclose your security details such as a PIN, online password or temporary 'one time passcodes' and would never ask you to move your funds to a 'safe account'.

APP fraud can happen to anyone and so it is critical you ask yourself the right questions before you make any payments:

  • Have you been contacted unexpectedly to make this payment? Have you received an unexpected email or phone call?
  • How were you given the bank details? If by email, SMS or phone call, these should be checked with a trusted source before proceeding
  • Why are you making the payment today?
  • Is this a payment you've been planning to make?
  • Is this a regular payment that you are going to be making?

If you think you've been a victim of APP fraud, please call us immediately on 0345 900 0900 (this number can be checked against the number on the back of your card).

SIM swap and number porting scams

There's been an increase in criminals taking over mobile phone numbers using SIM swap and number porting fraud.

This gives fraudsters control of their victims' calls and texts and allows them to authorise payments set up in online banking, using personal data they've gained through social media.

With SIM swap, they contact the network provider impersonating their victims. They claim their phone has been damaged and ask for a new SIM for their new device.

Number porting is similar - the criminals impersonate their victims to get the PAC code (porting authorisation code), which is needed to switch from one network to another. Sometimes they might also hack into their online mobile phone account. Once they have the code, they move the number to a new network provider. Other techniques include claiming their SIM has been damaged and asking for a replacement, either by phone or in a shop.

Criminals often get personal data for their impersonations from social media.

If calls and texts stop working on your phone, your number could have been stolen - particularly if you're in a place where you normally have good reception. This is because a mobile phone number can only link to one SIM at a time.

If this happens, contact your network provider straight away. If you can't get through, contact your bank to remove the phone number from your account.

What next?

Report it

If you think you've been the victim of a scam, report it to us as soon as possible by calling
0345 900 0900. You should also report it to Action Fraud (link opens in a new window).

Take Five

You can also visit the Take Five (link opens in a new window) website for more help on protecting yourself against fraud.

Stay safe

We also have our own Financial Fraud leaflet which tells you more about how to stay safe online.