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Beware of Banking Fraud

Frauds and scams which target your bank account are increasingly sophisticated and widespread. Whilst we play our part, there are steps that you can take to keep your security details and consequently your bank balance safe.

Download summary of common scams and frauds

Fraudsters are clever and organised and may choose their target and the type of fraud based upon research of your online profile, internet spending habits and social media. Fraudsters will go to extraordinary lengths to make you believe that they are the genuine article, and there are different themes that the fraudsters employ to stop you from becoming wise to their tricks, but we can help you identify the different types of fraud and scams and prepare you to be vigilant so that your bank account and security information stays safe.

Report it…

Whatever story is used, there is usually a sense of urgency and persistence about the payment you are asked to make because the fraudster does not want you to stop, think and verify the transaction. If you are in doubt about a particular payment or suspect you may have been the victim of fraud, get in touch with us right away.

  • If calling internationally -  +44 (0) 1624 643643
  • If calling from within South Africa - 0860 033 269  (the cost of a local call)
  • email [email protected]
  • via the “contact-us” page
  • send a secure message via your Internet Banking

We also recommend making a report to the police.


This is a selection of the more common types of scam or fraud that have been used to trick people out of their bank balances.

The bank transfer scam

This usually takes the form of an unexpected or unsolicited telephone call from a caller claiming to be from your bank or perhaps another service provider or even the police. The caller tries to persuade you to either divulge bank security details or to provide access to your account. The fraudster wants to gain access to your account or to persuade you to move your money into another account, which they control.
The fraudsters usually feed you snippets of personal information to persuade you that they are genuine and to gain your trust. You may even be told that your account has been hacked and you need to move your money for security reasons because the staff at your bank are involved.

Stay alert…

  • If the call is unexpected, you can terminate the call and call the bank back to ensure it does originate from the bank. If you are re-calling the caller to ascertain they are genuine, ensure the original call disconnected and that the number you are calling is from a trusted source
  • Do not log on to your online banking using a public wi-fi
  • Do not provide your PIN number over the phone or all the characters of your passcode or codeword, we will never ask you for this information
  • Do not provide your internet banking security token verification codes over the phone, we will never ask you for this information
  • Do not provide your PIN number over the phone or all the characters of your passcode or codeword
  •  Do not succumb to pressure to make a transfer there and then. Standard Bank would never tell you to move your money to a “safe account”. Take time to check and double check that the transaction is genuine and speak to a member of the customer services team if in doubt

The Investment Scam

Are you being offered an investment opportunity which is too good to be true and do you need to “move quickly” to “take advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime”? If so, beware of making any unconsidered or impulsive decisions. These types of scam often occur when an “investment adviser” or “broker” contacts you out of the blue, or as a result of your browsing on social media. The investment scheme or platform can often seem perfectly legitimate, with a website and testimonials; maybe it’s even endorsed by a celebrity. You may be persuaded to make increasingly larger or more frequent investments at low or no risk to your capital.

Stay alert…

  • Don’t be fooled by the promise of a quick profit or “get rich quick” scheme. Fraudsters will persuade victims to transfer funds into a cryptocurrency wallet or to provide personal identity information to open a trading account.
  • Do your own research - check the Financial Conduct Authority Register (or local equivalent) to ensure that the investment company is genuine and is authorised to provide or advise on investments
  • Make sure the contact details of the “adviser” match those on the Register. If not, it could be a scam
  • Watch out for fake schemes advertised on social media or endorsed by celebrities. Do not follow links in a post on social media, instead use an independent source to confirm that the company and scheme is genuine
  • Don’t be rushed into making an investment or setting up an account. Take your time and carry out your research
  • Before investing, always seek independent financial advice from a regulated and authorised provider

The remote access scam

Usually claiming to be from a technical service-provider, this fraudster wants to take over control of your computer by convincing you that you have a fault on your system. The caller will be persistent and may warn you that delay will cause damage to your service or financial losses to you. In order to make an online payment so they can fix the issue for you, you will need to provide them with your bank details or credit card.

Stay alert…

  • Do not trust an unsolicited or unexpected call from a service provider telling you there is a fault with your system
  • End the call and call back on a trusted number if you are unsure
  • Never provide access to your computer unless you have requested the service
  • Never provide your account or payment details other than to a trusted, known and expected source


The email or text scam

Scammers will use the email “phishing” technique, or “Smishing” if it’s an SMS, to gain access to personal information and your money by sending out spoof messages to fool you into divulging payment details, usernames and passwords. There are various ruses that the sender will use, for example an online shopping offer or deal, which includes a link for you to click, or an email purporting to be from your bank or credit card provider asking for you to confirm your security details. The messages often contain bad grammar and spelling errors and can be linked to earlier , genuine messages.

Stay alert…

  • Ensure you have up to date digital security on your device
  • Delete messages that you feel are suspicious or offers that are “too good to be true”
  • Do not “click through” on a link from an unsolicited or unknown sender; open a new browser or separately contact the sender and check their authenticity
  • Do not provide your personal or account details or security information, particularly your PIN, full codeword or banking code
  • Never respond to suspicious texts or emails
  • Ensure the sender is a genuine company, that the product or service you are purchasing actually exists and that your payment is being made to the right recipient


The Romance scam
Romance scammers create fake profiles online and make up stories to convince you to send them money or gifts. They will shower you with compliments and often be fast to declare their “love”. A request for money could be to help a sick relative, to pay for a flight to come and visit you or to pay for a computer to get that job they have always dreamed of. If you do not cooperate right away their requests could become more persistent or desperate and if you do, they will ask for more.

Stay alert…..

  • Verify the identity of the person you are involved with
  • Be alert to inconsistencies in their story or excuses for not meeting in person
  • Do not send money or gifts to someone you have met on the internet or a dating website, until you are satisfied they are genuine
  • Do not give your security or credit card details to online romancers


The Authorised Push Payment scam

Also known as an “email hack”, “invoice scam” or “CEO fraud”, you will receive what appears to be a genuine request to make a payment or a money transfer from a seemingly trusted and known source such as a tradesperson if you are having work done on your home, or from your boss at work. When you follow the instructions in the email, which often require urgent or immediate action, the money is transferred into the account of the fraudsters, who usually remove it immediately it hits their account, making recall of the funds almost impossible.

Stay alert…

  • Carefully check the sender’s email address and details, particularly if you are told that the recipient of the money has changed their bank details and new information is provided
  • Stop and think before making any financial transfers. Do not be rushed into making a transfer
  • Do not be afraid to challenge the instruction
  • Confirm the recipient’s details and that the instruction is genuine, rather than simply hitting “reply”, either by making a separate telephone or video call or sending a new email to a known and trusted email address
  • Ensure that there are appropriate internal safeguards within your company relating to the making of online payments and that staff adhere to such procedures and have adequate training about scams


The “vishing” scam

Telephone calls offering once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunities really are too good to be true and are a favourite method of trying to separate you from your money. The caller will pressurise you with not-to-be-missed opportunities to persuade you to make a commitment there and then. Another common strategy is to pretend to be from a utility provider to which you have made an overpayment and where your bank details are needed so that a refund can be credited to your account.

Stay alert…

  • End the call. Do not provide bank or credit card details to pay for goods or services offered in unsolicited phone calls
  • Take your time. Carry out your research on the seller, the product or the service and ensure you are satisfied they are genuine
  • If you are re-calling the caller to ascertain they are genuine, ensure the original call disconnected and that the number you are calling is from a trusted source


Card not present (CNP) fraud

CNP fraud can happen without the card or cardholder being present. Fraudsters can memorise or copy your card number, expiry date and 3-digit card validation code (on the back of your card) when you’re using your card to pay.
Your card information is used for fraudulent transactions online or over the phone, even though your card is still in your possession.

Stay alert…

  • Don’t let your card out of your sight when making payments
  • Check that you’ve received your own card back after every purchase
  • Sign your card on the signature panel as soon as you receive it
  • Review your account details and transactions on a regular basis


 Card skimming
Fraudsters can duplicate your card by ‘skimming’ or copying your card details with a device they place in an ATM card slot or they can clone your card and steal your PIN by using a fake front on the ATM machine.
To get your PIN, they’ll either set up a hidden camera, or watch you type it in. While you can’t prevent your card being skimmed, you can prevent fraudsters from learning your PIN.

Stay alert…

  • Memorise your PIN, never write it down
  • Always shield the ATM keypad from the view of other people when entering your PIN
  • Always be careful and vigilant when using an ATM
  • Be sure the ATM looks real
  • If for any reason you become suspicious, cancel the transaction and remove your card


Card swapping
Fraudsters who see you having trouble at an ATM might offer to help you insert your card, only to pocket it as they watch you enter your PIN, and then swap it with a replica or even claim your card has been ‘swallowed’

Stay alert…

  • Never accept help from strangers at an ATM
  •  If someone interrupts you, cancel the transaction, remove your card and leave immediately