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How a fraudster might contact you

Find out how criminals typically get in touch, and what you should do if you're targeted

Phone calls (vishing)

If you receive an unexpected phone call about money - there's a good chance it's a scam. 

Scammers may claim to be a business or authority you know and trust - like your bank or the police. They may know personal details about you and can even make their phone number look authentic using a technique called ‘number spoofing’. 

But if someone calls you out of the blue and asks you to move money or share your account details, just hang up. 

We'll never call and ask you for personal details or full passwords, PINs or security codes.

A scammer may ask you to:

  • transfer money to a 'safe account' or a known beneficiary as your account has been compromised
  • withdraw cash and hand it over to the police for investigation
  • press a number on your keypad to speak with a customer service representative (a fraudster in disguise)
  • share personal or financial details

If you tell the caller you suspect a scam, they may advise you to call the number on the back of your bank card to check. Be careful, as this can be part of the scam. A scammer can play a fake dial tone and keep the line open, so even after you dial another number, you're actually still talking to them.

If you want to call an organisation to check if a request is genuine:

  1. Hang up the phone properly and wait 15 seconds.
  2. Make sure the line is fully disconnected.
  3. Wait another 15 seconds before beginning a new call, or use a different phone.
  4. Contact the organisation using a number you know is genuine - get it from their official website and check it across multiple sources if you can. If you need to call HSBC you can contact us on 03457 404 404.

Text messages (smishing)

Scammers send fake text messages pretending to be your bank, or another legitimate organisation. Their goal is to make you reply with your personal or financial details so they can steal money from your account. 

Typically, these messages will:

  • encourage you to take urgent action by tapping a link or making a call
  • ask you to verify new payees, transactions or devices
  • look and sound like genuine messages but with new wording added
  • come from unknown mobile numbers

Banks and other genuine organisations will never ask for your full PIN, password or banking codes. And we’ll never text you a link to our online banking log on page.

 If you've received a suspicious text:

  • don’t tap any links
  • don’t download any attachments 
  • don’t reply
  • delete the message
  • contact the organisation using a phone number you've verified, or visit their website

If the message claims to be from HSBC and you're not sure it's genuine, compare it to our examples of real vs fake texts

You can also screenshot the message and send the image to us at

Emails (phishing)

Phishing emails will look like they're from a legitimate authority or organisation, or perhaps a retailer you've bought something from in the past.

Typically, they’ll:

  • encourage you to click on a website link
  • contain spelling and grammar errors
  • urge you to take action quickly and threaten to close your account if you don’t respond
  • pretend that you’re owed money
  • ask you to share confidential information, such as your online banking details, passwords, account numbers or PINs
  • include instructions on how to reply or verify your account – like completing a form attached to the email

If you receive a suspicious email:

  • don’t click on any links
  • don’t open any attachments 
  • don’t reply

If you're not sure, contact the organisation using a phone number you know is genuine, or visit their website.

If you've received an email from HSBC and you think it might be a scam:

  • forward it to us at
  • delete the scam email and empty the recycle bin on your device

Get in touch

If you've received a suspicious text or email, send it to us at If a fraudster has taken your money or gained access to your account contact us on 03457 404 404.

Explore more


New scams emerge all the time. Stay in the loop with our frequently updated list.


Learn more about the different types of fraud and what you can do to protect yourself.


Don't get caught out by a scam. Find out how to spot them and what you can do to avoid them.

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