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. To find out more about how to stay safe, visit our fraud prevention guide.
March 2021: Police impersonations
There's been a steep rise in criminals impersonating police officers to commit fraud.
They're spoofing genuine numbers and claiming to be local police. The criminals then usually use a safe account scam where they ask victims to make bank transfers.
Police forces in Leicestershire, Hertfordshire, Kent and Nottinghamshire have already reported this kind of activity.
If someone calls you and asks you to move money, don’t, even if it's to another account you already hold.
The police and other trusted organisations will never ask you to send money to a 'safe account' or to another bank. Criminals will.
March 2021: 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.
March 2021: Cryptocurrency scams
Fraudsters may tempt you with investment opportunities in cryptocurrencies. Before you invest, conduct your own research to make sure you understand the offer and how the investment works.
Some scams claim to be investing in cryptocurrency, but they’re not paying a wallet provider. If they are paying a wallet provider, check the following:
- how do you know the wallet is in your name and only you have access to it?
- if the payment does go to a wallet you control, why are you being asked to move your currency to another wallet?
- how can you keep the contents of your wallet secure and never share access details with anyone else?
Find out more about cryptocurrency scams from the national cybercrime reporting centre ActionFraud.
February 2021: Impersonation scams
We're seeing an increase in impersonation scams, where criminals pretend to be from trusted organisations.
They will contact you out of the blue via phone calls, emails or text messages. Common reasons given are:
- you’re eligible for a coronavirus vaccine
- your National Insurance number has been compromised
- you've received a tax rebate from HMRC there’s been a suspicious transaction on your card or bank account
- your account with a retailer has been compromised
If you think a phone call might be a scam (sometimes known as vishing), just hang up. Beware also of automated phone calls asking you to press 1 to speak to an adviser or manager. Generally these put you though to the criminals, but sometimes they just switch you to a premium rate call.
Email scams (also known as phishing) are unexpected messages that appear to come from a trusted organisation. If you receive an email you believe is suspicious, don’t click on any links or open any attachments.
You should also watch out for fake text messages that look like they’ve come from your bank (sometimes called smishing). Delete any suspicious text messages and contact the organisation using a phone number you know is genuine.
If you think you’ve shared your HSBC security details, please call us on 03457 404 404. If it was a phone call, make sure you've fully disconnected first. You can send any scam emails or screenshots of suspicious text messages to us at email@example.com.
Find out more about impersonation scams by downloading our scams leaflet (PDF, 1MB).
February 2021: Romance scams
Take extra care at this time of year to guard against romance scams.
Fraudsters are known to target victims around Valentine’s Day, setting up fake profiles on dating websites, apps and social media.
These criminals exploit the emotions of their victims. First they try to appeal to your compassionate side, then they start asking for money.
Typically, they might tell you they live outside the UK and claim they need money to pay for the cost of travelling to see you.
Never send money to someone you’ve only met online.
If you think you’ve fallen for a romance scam, you can call us using the number on the back of your credit or debit card or report it to Action Fraud.
January 2021: Vaccine scam
Throughout the pandemic, some fraudsters have been trying to exploit coronavirus as an opportunity for financial crime.
Now that vaccines are available, they’re sending bogus messages claiming to offer the chance to apply for a coronavirus jab.
These are usually text messages which ask you to confirm your personal and financial details through a website given in a link. Some fraudsters are also trying the same scam with automated phone calls.
The NHS will never ask you to press a button on your keypad or send a text asking you to confirm you want the vaccine. It will also never ask for payment or for your bank details.
Do not visit any of these sites or give any information. Please continue to follow official government advice.
If you’ve fallen victim to this scam, contact us using the number on the back of your card.
Read more about how to spot a vaccine scam.
Find out more about other coronavirus scams we're hearing about.
December 2020: Delivery scams
Bogus text messages and emails are being sent, claiming to be from a delivery company that tried to deliver a parcel to you but couldn’t. The messages ask customers to click on a link to find out more or rearrange delivery.
Do not click on any links or give any information, especially personal or financial details.
If you think the message may be genuine, open a separate window and visit the company’s website using an address that you know is safe. Once there, you can enter your tracking number to see if the message was genuine.
If you think the message is not genuine, delete it.
If you’re contacted unexpectedly by email, phone or text, do not give any information. Contact the company separately using a phone number you trust.
If you’ve fallen victim to this scam, contact us using the number on the back of your card.
November 2020: Black Friday
Black Friday is popular with shoppers looking for a bargain - but it’s also used by fraudsters as an opportunity to steal money.
To protect yourself, make sure you use safe websites when shopping online and use secure ways to pay, such as your debit or credit card.
Here are some more tips to guard against scams on Black Friday, which falls on 27 November this year:
- research the retailer online - check for reviews and that the website address is spelt correctly
- be wary of requests to pay by bank transfer
- check the returns and cancellations policy
- avoid any arrangements with a stranger asking for an upfront payment
Remember, if a deal looks too good to be true, it’s probably a 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.
April 2020: SIM swap and number porting scams
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.
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.