Sophisticated fraud gangs use a whole range of techniques to convince us to part with our money and our personal details. It’s all too easy to fall into a fraudster’s trap, even when you think you’re doing the right things – they’re very convincing.

Fraudsters’ techniques change frequently as they attempt to exploit each new payment system, to find chinks in the armour. We’re seeing a significant increase in phishing and smishing attacks, often through very convincing emails and fake websites set up deliberately to convince you to divulge your personal details.

The fraudsters gather information in a range of ways. These could include, but are not limited to, hacking your email and social sites, ‘harvesting’ data by stealing information from websites or taking it directly from your computer through ‘malware’ – malicious software placed on your computer to track your personal information.

Fraud has a huge impact on customers in terms of stress, worry and time taken to sort out the problems it leaves in its wake. Across the UK £38bn was lost to fraud in 2012 across all industries, and while banks are a very small part of that, we’re working day and night to combat it – profiling transactions and implementing new security measures.


Telephone scam

Sometimes it’s human rather than technical measures that protect our customers.

NatWest staff recently saved a 90 year old customer from losing her savings to a fraudster who had called her claiming to be from the NatWest Fraud Department. The customer was told that there were two suspicious entries on her account and she was asked to confirm how much money she had before being advised that all but £2,000 needed to be sent to an account with another bank by 2.30pm that day, or her money would be lost.

“The customer was very frightened when she came to the branch because she had been told that a policeman and member of staff would be there, undercover, and that CCTV would be focused on her to ensure the transfer was carried out,” the branch manager said. “The customer had told the fraudster that she would need to see me to carry out the transfer and was told that I knew all about it and not to ask me."

However the customer was shaking and very anxious when she arrived at the branch to request the transfer and staff quickly realised that something was wrong. The branch manager explained that her money was safely in the bank and that he believed she was the victim of attempted fraud. With her permission he called the police who took a statement from her and confirmed that three similar incidents, at two other banks, were being investigated in the area.


Preventing fraud together

RBS processes upwards of 16.8 million transactions every day, and in the same 24 hours we see up to 100,000 attempts from around the world to commit fraud. The attempts come in many forms, including fake cheques, loan applications and card scams.

We prevent many millions of pounds’ worth of fraud every day. We also monitor trends and share information with other banks and external agencies, such as the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. We’ve come a long way with new online security features and communicating with our customers on potential dangers.

But we all have to be vigilant - we’re in this fight together.

It’s really important that customers are aware of the threats present to them from fraudsters. You can find advice on the RBS Security Centre and NatWest Security Centre, but all readers should consider:

  • Protect your personal identity and banking details. They are secure details and should be closely guarded.
  • Be careful who you share information with. Be wary of providing your personal details to someone makes unsolicited contact with you.
  • If in doubt, speak to us.

Where we think you may have been a victim of fraud we will contact you immediately on your landline or mobile. Please make sure you keep your contact details up to date and, remember, we refund every customer when they fall victim to fraud where a fraudster has paid money away from their account. It’s important that we’re there for you when you need our help.

RBS and NatWest customers who believe they have been a victim of fraud should call us on 0345 300 3983 or visit their local branch.

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