Protecting yourself

Hints and tips on how to avoid scams and keep safe

There's lots you can do to help protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud – start by following these simple steps and be aware of the various ways that fraud can be carried out.

Keep passwords safe

Never tell someone your password or PIN – or write them down in a way that could be understood by someone else. Don’t be tempted to use passwords that can easily be guessed such as children’s names or birth dates. Choose a combination of numbers and letters of upper and lower case to strengthen your password. And don't use the same password for other online accounts.

Always log out

If you're in a secure (padlocked) part of the M&S Bank website, always click on the log out link when you've finished. And if other people use your computer, close the internet browser too.

If you share a computer

Be extra careful if you have to access your online accounts from a shared computer – and make sure it has the latest anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software installed. Never access your account in an internet café or library. You can't guarantee the computer is secure – and there's always a risk that someone is looking over your shoulder.

Don’t give away too much personal information

Social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, are becoming a particular target for cyber-criminals wanting to gather small pieces of personal information published online. If you allow it, people can see your date of birth, mobile number, address, information on your family and potentially much more. If enough personal information is collected, it could be used to steal your identity.

Instead try to limit how much personal info you give away online. And check the privacy settings on each site that you use to make sure you only share personal information with people you trust.

Keep your cards safe

  • Remember to sign your card as soon as you receive it and keep it in a safe place
  • When using your card, shield your card number and PIN so that others around you can't see it
  • Never hand your cards over to anyone who says they are coming to collect them. We would never ring to say we were coming to pick up your cards, and neither would the police.
  • If you have additional cardholders ensure they are also aware of these tips.
  • Report a lost or stolen card immediately.

If you have any questions or concerns about the security of your M&S Bank Cards, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 0345 900 0900.

Take care with statements and other important documents

Criminals use a variety of methods in the online world to try to steal your details, but they also look for things in the real world too. Keep shopping receipts and paper bank statements somewhere safe and if you are planning to throw them away, make sure you shred them before putting them in the bin – that goes for any mail with your name, address or financial details on it. Have you considered switching to online statements, eliminating rubbish and reducing the chance of criminals stealing your personal information?

Also check your bank and credit card statements regularly for any unusual transactions or withdrawals and notify the bank immediately if you suspect any discrepancies.

Look out for suspicious emails

If you receive an email asking for personal information or security details, don't reply or click on any link. It may look genuine, but it could be someone 'phishing' for your details to use in fraudulent activities. You can read more information on some of the more common scams.

Remember, if there was a problem with your online account, we would always get in touch by phone, or ask you to call us. We would never send you emails requesting information about your account, security details, or provide links that go straight to pages that request sign-in details.

If you are suspicious about an email that claims to come from us, don't open it – forward it to and then delete it. We take these matters very seriously and will investigate the email in question.

Be wary of suspicious calls

One of the ways criminals find out your personal details is simply by asking you and they’re increasingly targeting consumers over the telephone. So be wary of people who visit unannounced or call asking for personal or financial details. You can read more information on common scams and what to do if you feel you’ve been targeted.

Make sure your computer’s protected

Read some hints and tips about keeping your computer up-to-date in the fight against online fraud.

Identity fraud

You can find out more about identity fraud – what it is and how it happens.

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