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Latest scam warnings

At HSBC we work hard to help you stay one step ahead of fraudsters.

On this page we’ll regularly keep you updated about the latest types of scam.

September 2020: Scam calls

We're seeing an increase in cases of scam calls from criminals pretending to be from trusted organisations.

They're phoning out of the blue and asking for urgent action to be taken. Common examples are:

  • cancelling your broadband service
  • renewing a subscription service
  • a suspicious transaction on your card or bank account

The fraudsters then ask you to press 1 and provide your account details.

If this happens to you, do not press 1 - end the call and contact the organisation using details you know are correct.

This type of fraud is sometimes called 'vishing'. Criminals sometimes make the call seem more authentic by using 'number spoofing'. This makes their phone number look like one you know and trust.

You can find out more about vishing by downloading our scams leaflet (PDF, 33KB).

September 2020: Money mules

If you’re starting university or a new job, you could be targeted by criminals asking you to move money for them.

Students are often approached to act in this way as a ‘money mule’ as they might be strapped for cash.

Don’t be tempted.

Allowing money to be transferred through your bank account in exchange for payment is a crime. It might seem a harmless way to earn easy money - but it's feeding larger organised crime.

The fraudsters can seem genuine and you may have first seen the opportunity on a legitimate job site.

But once you start, you may be threatened or forced to continue.

Remember, acting as a money mule can get you into serious trouble:

  • you’ll have problems applying for credit in the future
  • your bank accounts will be closed
  • you could even go to prison for up to 14 years

Find out more in our fraud prevention guide.

August 2020: Payment scams

Beware of criminals phoning and asking you to move money. If someone calls you and asks you to move money, don’t. Even if it's to another account you already hold. 

Remember: we'll never ask you to send money to a 'safe account' or to another bank.

If you get a call like this, even if they say they’re from HSBC, don’t make the payment. Call us using the number on the back of your card.

We'll never ask you to send money to a 'safe account', or to another bank. Criminals will.

Find out more about Authorised Push Payment scams.

July 2020: HSBC smishing scam

Bogus text messages are being sent to HSBC customers saying a new payment has been made through our mobile banking app on their phone.

Customers are then asked to validate their bank details through a website given in the text message.

Do not access the site or provide any information, please only to log on to online banking through hsbc.co.uk.

If you’ve fallen victim to this scam, contact us using the the number on the back of your card.

If you’ve received a text from us, you can verify it here.

July 2020: ‘Green bonds’ scam

Watch out for a new scam where fraudsters pretend to be looking for investors in fake ‘green bonds’.

Green bonds are an investment opportunity supporting the low-carbon economy.

In this scam, criminals are cold-calling people claiming to be from Moneyfacts.co.uk.

They say HSBC has asked them to find 10,000 new investors for our green bonds. Victims are asked to book an appointment with a colleague, who can outline the investment further.

Typically, the fraudsters claim the investment would be for £10,000 in a green HSBC investment bond – they often call it a special purpose vehicle. The criminals then offer to pass the would-be investor directly onto HSBC to make their deposit.

This is not how our bonds work – we only process such investments with a personal appointment.

Don’t trust unexpected calls and always contact HSBC by a method you know to be genuine.

Find out more about HSBC’s genuine green bonds.

June 2020: Coronavirus fraud

Find out more about the latest coronavirus scams we're hearing about.

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.

If you think you've been targeted by a coronavirus scam, report it to Action Fraud.

To get more help protecting yourself against fraud, visit the Take Five website. You can also download our scams leaflet (PDF, 331.1KB).

April 2020: SIM swap and number porting scams

There's been an increase in criminals taking over mobile phone numbers using SIM swap and number porting fraud.

This gives fraudsters control of their victims’ calls and texts and allows them to authorise payments set up in online banking, using personal data they've gained through social media or social engineering.

With SIM swap, they contact the network provider impersonating their victims. They claim their phone has been damaged and ask for a new SIM for their new device.

Number porting is similar - the criminals impersonate their victims to get the PAC code (porting authorisation code), which is needed to switch from one network to another. Sometimes they might also hack into their online mobile phone account. Once they have the code, they move the number to a new network provider. Other techniques include claiming their SIM has been damaged and asking for a replacement, either by phone or in a shop.

Criminals often glean personal data for their impersonations from social media.

If calls and texts stop working on your phone, your number could have been stolen – particularly if you're in a place where you normally have good reception. This is because a mobile phone number can only link to one SIM at a time. 

If this happens, contact your network provider straight away. If you can’t get through, contact your bank to remove the phone number from your account.

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

Credit card payment holidays

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.
 

Via text

 

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

 

Stay safe online

For more about online security, take a look at our scams leaflet.

 

We also regularly post warnings about common scams on our social media channels Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

It’s easy to get in touch online. Talk to us directly through our chat channels.