At HSBC we work hard to help you stay one step ahead of fraudsters and on this page you can keep posted about the latest types of scams.
March 2020: Coronavirus fraud
Criminals are using the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to try to steal money.
They're posing as organisations such as banks, government, the World Health Organisation or other health service providers, and pretending to offer things like a safe haven for your money or medical guidance. They’ll then try to trick you into giving personal or financial information.
These claims are made in fake emails, phone calls, texts and social posts using coronavirus as a cover story. Remember, HSBC will never ask you for any PINs or passwords or to move money to a safe account.
Find out more about the latest coronavirus scams we're hearing about.
If you think you've been targeted by a coronavirus scam, report it to Action Fraud.
March 2020: Flybe scams
Criminals are exploiting holidaymakers following the collapse of the airline Flybe.
They're trying to scam people into revealing personal and financial information.
They do this by:
- pretending to be an employee of the affected company
- asking for your bank account details to process refunds quicker
- offering alternative airline flights for an extra cost
- pretending to help with the aftermath of the collapse
So be wary of emails, texts, letters, social media messages or phone calls offering help in reclaiming your refund from Flybe.
If you're not sure about someone who's contacted you, visit the Take Five to Stop Fraud website.
Remember, HSBC will never ask for your telephone security number or information from your Secure Key.
If you think you may have given information to a criminal, call us immediately on 03457 404 404 - this number can be checked against the number on the back of your card.
If you've been affected by the Flybe collapse, you can find out how to raise a dispute here.
March 2020: Tax year scams
The end of the tax year is seen by fraudsters as an opportunity to make ‘social engineering’ attacks.
These can be:
- scam emails
- scam texts
- bogus phone calls
Watch out for messages pretending to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) saying you've received a tax rebate and asking for your account details.
To spot a scam, look for these tell-tale signs:
- poor spelling and grammar
- requests for confidential information such as online banking details, passwords or PINs
- offers of money or rewards, like lottery prizes
- warnings your account may be shut down unless you take some type of action
If you get a suspicious email or text, don’t reply or click on a link and don't open any attachments.
If you think you’re being targeted by a bogus phone call, don’t be afraid to hang up.
Find out more about how to avoid tax year scams.
February 2020: Fake HSBC Bonds
Beware of a new scam offering what appear to be HSBC Bonds including a ‘Green Bond’ and an ‘Ethical Bond’.
These are not genuine products.
Fraudsters have been targeting both HSBC and non-HSBC customers by email and phone. There are also some convincing web pages. Under no circumstances should you send personal details, nor should you transfer any money to an HSBC account for an HSBC ‘Bond’. This is not how our bonds work - we only process such investments with a personal appointment.
If you have any concerns about any contact you receive, please get in touch with us before you take any action. Either pop into your local branch or call us on 03457 404 404.
December 2019: Token Activation Fraud
Some HSBC customers are being targeted by fraudsters who want access to Secure Key activation codes. These codes, generated by either a physical Secure Key or Digital Secure Key, can be used to gain access to your online banking. Secure Key activation codes are not used to stop or block payments.
Typically, a fraudster calls over the phone or messages via text.
Over the phone
You may receive a call from someone claiming to be from your bank:
- the fraudster will say a large payment is due to leave your account and they’ll ask whether you authorised this
- when you say no, they’ll then offer to stop the payment for you
- they may be sympathetic and even tell you they will not ask for your PIN or password
- they’ll try to establish what kind of Secure Key you have – a physical one or a Digital Secure Key
- the fraudster will then ask you to generate a code from your Secure Key and let them know what it is
If you hand over your Secure Key activation code, the fraudster will be able to take over your online banking and authorise transactions from your account.
You may receive an SMS message from someone claiming to be from the bank. They may ask you to reply to the message with your Secure Key activation code, or to call them and take you through the similar steps above.
What should you do?
HSBC will never ask you for your Secure Key code. We’ll also never ask for any PINs or passwords. If you’re ever in doubt, hang up the phone and don’t reply to the text. Contact HSBC directly from a number you know to be genuine.
For more information, read our Token Activation Fraud guide.
November 2019: Remote Access Takeover
July 2019: Hoax phone calls
July 2019: Car parking scam
Be alert when using ATMs and machines where you need to input your PIN:
- Always use your hand as a shield from prying eyes when entering your PIN.
- Be aware of others around when using a machine where you need to enter a PIN – don’t let others distract you.
- Do not take advice from ‘helpful’ strangers who are near the machine, especially if your card has been unexpectedly retained.
- If your card doesn’t come out, call your bank straight away. Stay by the machine while doing this - if it’s safe to do so - to prevent anyone from removing your card.
It’s a good idea to add the HSBC phone number given on the back of your card to your contacts so you have it to hand it even if your card has been retained.
For more advice on how to protect your card and PIN, please read our card security page.