Protecting yourself from fraud

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an increase in fraudulent activity and it’s important to us that our customers are protected from fraud during these challenging times.

The video below outlines a scenario where taking a moment to pause and think about the plausibility of a situation can prevent you from becoming the victim of fraud. You can find further information about the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and fraud prevention tips in the tabs below.


Fraud is when a criminal or dishonest person or organisation uses deception against another person or organisation with the intended purpose of financial or personal gain. Fraud is often commonly referred to as a scam or con.

There are many different types of fraud meaning that it is more important than ever to remain diligent in protecting yourself against fraud. Please read the ’Top tips for fraud prevention’ tab for further advice regarding fraud prevention.


This is a method used by fraudsters to extract personal information from their victims. The aim of the communications is to convince the victim that they are from a trusted source. Often fraudsters will change minor details in an email address in order to give the appearance of legitimacy e.g. changing an ‘S’ to a ‘5’ or adding in an additional full stop or underscore.

Identity fraud

Once criminals have obtained personal information, through methods such as Phishing, they can exploit the information to obtain goods and services using the stolen identity. This could include opening bank accounts, taking over existing bank accounts, obtaining loans or credit cards and obtaining government issued documents e.g. passports.

Fake invoice scams

Fake invoice scams occur when fraudsters target an individual or company with a fake invoice requesting for the payment of goods or services. Often, the victim will be pressured to make the payment swiftly (thereby reducing the chance of the victim figuring out that it is a scam before making the payment). It is also important to watch out for changes to email addresses (often very minor changes) and changes to bank details, as these are key indicators of fake invoice scams.

Email Payment Fraud

Email Payment Fraud is often initiated by a fraudster affecting a consumer’s computer with malware which will lie dormant until keywords related to payment requests are identified. At this point, the fraudster will intercept the email communications between a consumer and a provider related to the request for payment and will amend any legitimate payment details given by the provider so that the fraudster’s own bank account details are sent through to the consumer instead. The fraudster will impersonate the provider to give the appearance of legitimacy. If the consumer makes the payment to the fraudster’s bank account, the funds often ultimately end up offshore to make them harder to trace.
Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud. Please refer to their website for a full A-Z of different types of fraud

Below is a list of top tips to help protect you from fraud:

  • Keep your bank details private;
  • Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic; always check that the sender or caller is legitimate;
  • Always be cautious when receiving unexpected communications. Never automatically click on a link provided in an unexpected email or text, especially if the language or the format of the communications (e.g. font) appear different to your normal UTB communications. One recommendation is to always access the UTB website by typing into your browser rather than clicking on any links communicated to you. You can also roll your mouse pointer over a suspicious hyperlink to reveal it’s true destination;
  • Remain diligent if you receive communications regarding an unexpected change of bank details, do not make the payment if you suspect that something is not right;
  • Use anti-virus software to protect your devices and always keep your software up-to-date;
  • Do not be pressured or rushed into making a decision, this is a common tactic used by fraudsters;
  • Trust your instincts, if it does not feel right then it probably isn’t.
If in doubt, you can call the UTB Switchboard on 020 7190 5555 or complete the quick enquiry form on the ‘Reporting fraud to UTB’ tab below.

Take Five is a national campaign led by UK Finance and backed by Her Majesty’s Government. The campaign encourages consumers and businesses to stop and consider the legitimacy of the situation. Trust your instincts, if it feels wrong then it usually is.

Please refer to the Take Five website to learn more about the campaign and read more useful tips in fraud prevention.

If you suspect that you have been the victim of fraud relating to your UTB account or someone claiming to be from UTB, please contact us immediately via the UTB Switchboard on 020 7190 5555 or by completing the fraud reporting form below. The Fraud Team are available between 9am-5pm Monday-Friday.

Report a fraud to UTB

UTB takes fraud seriously and will make every effort to assist you if you think that you might be a victim of fraud.

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