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Stay safe – protecting yourself against fraud and scams

The coronavirus outbreak has created a number of opportunities for fraudsters to try to trick people into parting with their personal information or money. Below we have highlighted a few of the ways that fraudsters can present themselves and what our customers can do to stay protected and avoid falling victim to scams.

What to watch out for:

Text Messages – Beware of text messages that seem to originate from official bodies, e.g. the Government, World Health Organisation or the local doctor’s surgery. While we know that the Government and doctor’s surgeries are likely to provide advice on their requirements during the pandemic, advice is to not click on any links provided in text messages, and make sure that phone numbers are verified before calling them.

Emails – There are a number of emails and text messages offering Covid-19 tax rebates from travel bookings, safety advice and donation requests. These messages contain suspect links to sites that will infect a computer or ask the victim to provide sensitive personal and financial data. HMRC do not currently offer tax rebates via email or text messages. Do not click on such links or open attachments especially when it offers you refunds or money.

If you do donate online, check for red flags, such as grammar and spelling errors, images taken from news stories or social media, unknown charities or sales tactics asking for big donations.

Unsolicited phone calls – Beware of unexpected calls from known companies, like your internet provider, claiming to need access to your computer or asking for passwords, personal or financial information. If you receive such a call you should never be afraid to put the phone down if unsure. Call the organisation back on the number listed on its website or if it’s the bank, please use the number on the back of your debit card.

Leaflets or calls at your door – While some neighbours are offering to genuinely help each other out with buying and delivering shopping or collecting medication during this time, unfortunately some people are receiving fraudulent offers. Never give anyone your debit or credit card or disclose your PIN or personal information. Do not feel pressured into providing information. If you don’t know the person and have doubts about those who are approaching you, and are concerned, it is advised that you don’t engage, and report serious suspicious behaviour to the police. Remember that genuine volunteers have been instructed not to enter your home.

So, remember:

  • Cynergy Bank would never ask you for your PIN, password or code and would never ask you to move your money out of your account(s).
  • For official updates, information and advice about Coronavirus, please visit the official Government website, www.gov.uk and only visit known and reputable news websites for the latest news on the outbreak.
  • If you receive an email including a link or attachment that offers advice or a remedy for coronavirus, there is a good possibility that it will be a fraudulent scam.
  • If you are suspicious, hang up the phone, delete the email or text message and never click on links or attachments in emails or text messages which offer unsolicited refunds or money.
  • Instead of clicking on website links, you can copy and paste website addresses into your internet search bar or you can search the organisation on a search engine like Google*.

For more information on staying safe online you can visit the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) website which details how to spot suspicious emails and defend yourself against Malware on https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/news/cyber-experts-step-criminals-exploit-coronavirus

If you believe that you have become a victim of fraud you should contact us immediately on 0345 850 5555 during business hours. For out of hours fraud contact details please visit our website at the following address, https://www.cynergybank.co.uk/security/worried-about-fraud/.

*The full website address of each website referred to in this update has been given so you can copy and paste the site into your search bar.

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