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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.

Here’s what to do if you’re contacted unexpectedly by phone, email or text message:

To find out more about how to stay safe, visit our fraud prevention guide.

June 2021: New Payee scams

Bogus text messages continue 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 number on the back of your card.

If you’ve received a text from us, you can verify it on our Received a text page.

June 2021: Mobile Phone Upgrade scams

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) are aware of an ongoing scam where consumers are being cold called by individuals impersonating employees of legitimate mobile network operators and suppliers.

Victims are offered early handset upgrades, or new contracts, at significant discounts. Once customers have been convinced that the deals are genuine and agree to proceed, suspects then ask for their online mobile account credentials, including log-ins, address and bank account details.

  • Cold calls about mobile upgrades and contracts - If you’re unsure that the person calling you is an official representative of the company they claim to be from, hang up and do not reveal any personal information.
  • Only contact your mobile network provider on a number you know to be correct. For example, 191 for Vodafone customers, 150 for EE customers, 333 for Three customers, 202 for O2 customers, 4455 for Tesco Mobile, 789 for Virgin Mobile and 150 for Sky Mobile.
  • If you receive a device that you did not order or expect, contact the genuine sender immediately. The details for this will be within the parcel.
  • NEVER post a device directly to a given address. All genuine Mobile Network Operators would send out a jiffy bag for you to return without you incurring additional cost.

June 2021: Safe account 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.

May 2021: Delivery scams

Criminals are sending fake text messages and emails claiming to be from a delivery company.

They say they tried to deliver a parcel to you and ask you to click on a link to find out more or rearrange delivery.

Don’t 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 isn’t genuine, delete it.

Never give any information if you’re contacted unexpectedly by email, phone or text. Contact the company separately using a phone number you trust.

Customers should also be aware that a malicious piece of spyware – known as FluBot – is affecting Android phones and devices across the UK.

The spyware is installed when a victim receives a text message, asking them to install a tracking app due to a ‘missed package delivery’. The tracking app is in fact spyware that steals passwords and other sensitive data. For more on FluBot visit the National Cyber Security Centre website.

Contact us using the number on the back of your card if you’ve fallen victim to this scam.

May 2021: Secure Key scam

Bogus emails are being sent which claim to be from a HSBC and include a link to ‘improve online services’ of our Secure Key.

Don’t click on any links or give any information, especially personal or financial details.  

Forward the email to us at phishing@hsbc.co.uk and then delete the email.

You can find out more about how our Secure Key works.  

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

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 phishing@hsbc.co.uk.

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.

Find out more about romance scams

How one woman was conned out of £100,000

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.

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: 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.

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.

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

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