Bank transfer scams: 5 ways to protect yourself


Bank transfer scams are on the rise. They can range from a fraudster impersonating your bank and asking for your account details over the phone to a criminal posing as a travel agent and asking you to splash out for a luxury holiday that doesn’t exist.

You might think you would be able to identify a bank transfer scam if it were to happen to you, but modern tactics almost always involve cutting-edge technology. This has led to them becoming highly sophisticated and, as a result, increasingly difficult to intercept.

According to recent figures from UK Finance, the first half of 2021 saw losses from bank transfer scams increase by 71%. Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud also soared to £355.3 million to overtake card fraud for the first time.

If you are worried about the rising threat of bank transfer scams, don’t worry. There are some preventative measures you can take to protect yourself and your hard-earned cash from financial fraudsters.


1. Pay by card if and when you can

To prevent your money from falling into the wrong hands, you should pay by card if and when you can. If the worst was to happen and you later discovered that you had sent money to a scammer, you may be able to recoup some or all of the funds you lost if you paid with a credit or debit card.

This can act as an additional security blanket and prevent you from potentially losing a significant sum of money in a single transaction.

Research from Which? has also revealed that fraud victims are now losing up to £28,000 every hour in bank transfer scams. This is more than what the average UK employee earns in an entire year.


2. Never disclose your bank details by phone or email

If you have been asked to disclose your bank details over the phone or by email, you are more than likely being scammed. An official organisation, such as your bank or the police, will never ask you to reveal your online banking username, password, or PIN online. They will also never ask you to withdraw or send money for safe-keeping purposes or to aid an investigation.

This is usually the first, and most obvious, indicator of a bank transfer scam and can allow you to take action sooner rather than later so you can safeguard your money from sharks.

With no sure-fire way to guarantee that your money has even successfully reached its intended recipient after you press send, you should always exercise caution when sending money through a bank transfer.


3. Ask for additional information

When a fraudster is attempting to scam you, they will usually use convincing language to coerce you into believing and agreeing to everything they say.

By asking for additional information, however, you may be able to pick up on common cues that reveal their true intentions or expose your role as a victim of a wider scheme.

If you notice anything that doesn’t sound quite right or seems out of the ordinary, you must contact your bank and express your concerns.

When it comes to bank transfer scams, it is always better to be safe than sorry.


4. Don’t click on unknown links

In recent years, fraudsters have resorted to sending seemingly harmless links through text and email in an attempt to trick consumers into willingly parting with their bank details.

These messages may look like they have been sent from a trusted sender, but the phone number or email address used rarely matches who the person is claiming to be.

To avoid becoming the next victim of a bank transfer scam, don’t click on unknown links or pop-up windows and report any suspicious activity.


5. Check a website or sender’s authenticity

If you are struggling to tell whether a website or sender is genuine, there are some steps you can take to verify the identify of who you are communicating with.

When it comes to a website’s authenticity, for example, a padlock symbol in the address bar indicates that the connection between the browser and server is secure.

The legitimacy of a phone number or email address, on the other hand, can usually be checked simply by clicking on it. This will point to the the true identity of the sender which, more often than not, differs from who they are claiming to be.


When it comes to bank transfer scams, even the most financially savvy are at risk. By doing everything you can to protect yourself and your finances from fraudsters, you can lower your chances of becoming the next victim of a bank transfer scam and take action before it is too late. Prevention is, after all, always better than cure.



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