Fraud or not? These days, it’s not always clear. It’s also harder to predict who might be targeted and spot the dangers. Here are some of the most common types of fraud, and how you can keep yourself safe.

Friend, family or fraudster?


Twice as many 18-24 year olds fall for ‘friends and family’ scams on social media than 55+ year olds.1

If you’re on social media a lot, it’s easy to let your guard down. Fraudsters might pretend to be someone you know and come up with excuses to ask you for money or bank details. If you get a request like that, even if it appears to be from a friend or relative, before you respond:

  • Watch for odd language that doesn’t sound like them.
  • Call them back on their usual number. Speak to them in person to check that the message is genuine.

Not sure about a transaction? You can spot suspicious activity by checking online statements, and talk to us if you have any concerns.

Bargain holiday or scam?


The top two types of travel fraud last year related to airline tickets (47%) and accommodation booking (38%).2

That amazing deal on a holiday rental or flight ticket could be a scam. Holiday fraud cost the UK £6.7 million in 2017 – over £1,500 per person on average. When planning a trip online:

  • Read reviews on sites you can trust. Bad reviews are a clear warning sign but also look out for companies and properties with no reviews at all.
  • Use ABTA and ATOL registered holiday companies. Visit their websites where you can check if your holiday company is registered.
  • Avoid booking or paying directly with property owners – stick to card payments on official websites. Bear in mind that fraudsters often ask people to pay by direct bank transfer or wire transfer.

Read more tips on avoiding holiday scams.  

True romance? Or fake profile?


Only 13% of reported dating fraud cases in 2017 affected people under the age of 30.3

In 2017, 3,557 cases of romance fraud were reported to Action Fraud, costing victims £11,500 on average. Most people using online dating platforms want to connect with someone special, but some enter relationships to trick people into giving them money or personal data. However, there are easy ways to avoid getting hurt:

  • Be wary of inconsistencies in their story.
  • Fraudsters may ask many questions, but don’t share in return.
  • Be wary of any requests to give bank details or financial help to someone you’ve just met, or have only met online.  A fraudster may tell you a convincing lie so that you’ll send money.

Read more on how to avoid dating scams.

Sound investment, or pension fraud?


Those aged between 45 and 65 are most at risk of pension fraud.4

Pension fraud is when people are persuaded to transfer their pensions into fraudulent schemes – often tempted by the promise of high returns and low risk. It cost victims £91,000 on average last year. To keep your future secure:

  • Be suspicious of unexpected offers of financial advice, or offers of a free review.
  • Be cautious about unusual overseas investments or ‘opportunities’ to release cash from your pension even though you’re under 55. 
  • Don’t rush things – even if you’re being pressured to make a quick decision.
  • Check anyone providing you financial advice or services is on the FCA register.

Find out more about how you can protect yourself from investment scams.

Safe as houses?


Property fraud is more likely to affect empty, tenanted or mortgage-free homes.5

Property fraud is when a scammer sells or mortgages your property without your consent. Here are some tips to shelter yourself:

  • Make sure your property is registered with the HM Land Registry.
  • Keep your contact details up to date.
  • Set up property alerts to monitor your properties, and get notified when someone tries to complete a significant transaction – like take out a mortgage on your home.

Buying a home? It’s also worth knowing how to protect yourself from mortgage deposit scams.