Protect yourself from fraud
Digital technology has made our lives easier and more convenient, but it's also made it easier for fraudsters to trick and cheat us. Learn how to spot and stop fraud, and what you can do to prevent fraud on your accounts.
Good habits for staying fraud safe
It's important that you frequently monitor your account activity to help protect yourself against fraud.
If you are using an online account, sign on at least once a week and review your account information and recent transaction history. If you notice any payments or charges that you didn't make, contact us immediately.
Make sure your correct email address and phone number is linked to your account, so you can receive updates on transactions as well as be notified if there are any changes to your contact information. If you notice any changes in your account that you haven't made, notify us immediately.
Notify us immediately in case you encounter any of these scenarios while accessing your online banking account:
- There are unusual delays, pop-up screens, messages or instructions for additional steps when accessing the Online Banking platform
- You receive an unexpected or multiple requests for One-time-passcodes (OTPs)
- 2 Factor Authentication alert not received when logging into or while making a transaction on Online Mobile Banking account
Tips to stay fraud safe
Fraudsters can attempt to take over your account if they can impersonate you and gain access to your personally identifiable information. Social engineering, hacking, malware, email compromise are some deceptive ways through which they can obtain this information.
Find out how to stay safe online, what you can do to safeguard your account information when using your mobile phone and how to protect yourself from phishing and vishing.
Spot the warning signs
- When making online purchases, always double-check the website’s authenticity
- Look at the address bar: it is considered secure if the URL begins with “https” instead of “http”, and has a small closed lock symbol
- Red flags include spelling or grammatical errors; time-limited offers, flash sales or discounted pricing; unusual payment requests like bank transfer; products that have no reviews, bad reviews, or only positive reviews written in a similar way
- If you’re shopping on an online marketplace, check the website’s safe buying guide before making a purchase. Some online marketplaces will not offer any protection if you make payment outside of the platform
Stop suspicious activity
- Be vigilant at all times. Never open unexpected emails asking you to click on a link to arrange a delivery or make payment
- Always make the effort to double-check the facts and verify that the other party is legitimate before making any payments. Search for the retailer online with terms like “scam” or “complaint” and look for reviews by other consumers
- Do not authorise payments unless you are sure that the other party is legitimate
Report the incident
If you suspect any suspicious activity, report the incident to local authorities or your bank immediately.
There are many different kinds of impersonation scams but they all work the same way: a scammer pretends to be someone you trust to convince you to send them money. Here are some types of scams that you should be aware of to better protect yourself.
What to watch out for:
- Unexpected calls or emails threatening action against you
- Urgency. Requiring you to pay to resolve the issue
What you can do:
- Take your time and think. Make sure it is a legitimate caller
- Seek advice. Speak to friends or family
- Hang up. If you are still concerned, call back the relevant organisation on their public listed number
The Business E-mail Compromise (BEC) is a sophisticated scam targeting companies working with foreign suppliers or businesses. Payments are regularly performed by using an email from the supplier/ business owner (CEO or CFO) as the authority to carry out the payment. However, in case of a BEC scam, the payment processor may not realise that the email is not a genuine payment request.
What to watch out for:
- Make sure staff are aware to check the email address the payment request is sent from and have suitable checks in place to verify any new payment request received by way of email
- Always regularly review your organisation’s controls to make sure that you have suitable payment controls in place to not fall victim to this type of fraud
BEC is a type of impersonation scam where the fraudster sends instructions for a change of bank account number or to request an urgent payment. Find out the ways a BEC scam can occur and how you can prevent it from happening.
In this type of scam, victims are approached by individuals purporting to represent a bank or investment firm. They may present documents to the victims in an attempt get them to purchase bonds or pay fees as part of the scheme.
If suspicious of fraud, contact the Bank immediately to stop or recover your payments, and report this to local law enforcement.
Visit the Fraud Alerts page for information on the latest investment scams to protect yourself from.
What to watch out for:
- Unexpected callers. Always do your own research into who you want to deal with
- Common scams. A lot of investment scams are for precious gems, metals, wine, land, cryptocurrency or energy.
- Too much information. Fraudsters do their research and might know a lot about you
- Never hurry an investment decision
- If you’re asked to keep quiet about it, it’s likely to be a scam
What you can do:
- Take your time and think. Make sure it is a genuine deal and right for you
- Seek advice. Speak to friends, family or financial advisors
- Check the local regulator’s website for registered investment companies
Invoice fraud occurs when a fraudster contacts you and pretends to be from a real business. They send you an invoice with fake account details to try and trick you into sending them money rather than the legitimate business.
What to watch out for:
- Requests to update payment details. Suppliers claiming to have changed their bank accounts and requesting payment to a different account to the one you’re used to
- Unfamiliar email address. Check the spelling of the sender’s email address – are they spoofing the businesses email address?
- Unusual email activity or being unable to sign into your account. Remember, fraudsters can hack email accounts
What you can do:
- Always check any bank account details you have been provided with over email with the business over the telephone. Always call them on a number you trust
Fraudsters can phone you and pretend to be from your bank or law enforcement, and inform you that your account is under attack. They may try to persuade you to move your funds to a ‘safe account’, which is actually an account the fraudster controls. Scam calls can sound real, but stop and think – is this call genuine?
What to watch out for:
- Unexpected calls. If you did not expect the call, it could be a scam. If you’re not sure, you can call back using a trusted number
- Urgency. Fraudsters will create a sense of urgency and may also ask you to keep the conversation confidential. Do not trust anyone who does this
- A need to transfer money. Standard Chartered will never ask you to transfer funds to a ‘safe account’
- Calls from law enforcement. It is very rare for law enforcement to call. Always call back on a number you can validate
What you can do:
- Hang up the phone if you’re not sure who is calling
- Tell them you’ll call then back using a number you can trust
What you should never do:
- Transfer any money. Your bank or law enforcement will never ask you to do this
- Let anyone take control of your computer unless you initiated a call for support
- Divulge any passwords or one-time passcodes
Fraudsters often target the vulnerable and elderly and seek to exploit them. Whilst the fraudster may be a stranger, sadly they may well be a friend, family member or carer. Learn more about elder fraud and how to prevent it.
Once you authorise a payment instruction it can be very difficult for the Bank to recover funds. In order to protect yourself from these scams:
- Verify that the other party is legitimate before providing payment details
- Only purchase from secure e-commerce sites. Secure websites begin with “https” as opposed to “http”. Also look for a small closed lock symbol on the address bar
- When making online purchases, double-check the website’s authenticity
- Be wary of heavily discounted or considerably cheaper service or product offered online compared to the original price
- You are asked to pay by bank transfer instead of using the online platform’s secure payment options
- Always use strong passwords for your purchasing accounts
- Never trust emails. They are insecure and may have been tampered with. Always validate any account details you intend to send your money to over the phone using a trusted number
- Never transfer money for ‘security reasons’. Neither your bank or the police will ever ask you to do this
- Always stop, and think – is this genuine? If in doubt, contact your local Standard Chartered office
Learn more about elder fraud here.
Advanced fee scams
In this type of scam victims receive a call informing them that they have won a prize but are required to pay the courier, processing and custom fees to receive it. Payments are usually to an overseas account but after making these payments, the prize never arrives. The ‘419 scam’ is one such advance fee scam.
Fraudsters usually meet their victims on dating sites. The usual tricks are cashing on trust for a ‘future together’. These could also be fuelled by ‘rarely available’ status and thus adding to romantic allure and making it difficult to find about real identity. They then request money for things like medicines or travel. The money is paid into an overseas account and immediately withdrawn, making it difficult to recover. Tips that could prevent falling into such traps are:
- Keep your personal life private. Be wary of what you post on social media or dating sites. Scammers can use these details to get to know you
- Ask questions and watch out for inconsistencies that might reveal an imposter
- Do not share banking details including online banking credentials, send gift cards or transfer funds to someone you do not trust
- Do not share private photos or videos with them. Scammers can blackmail their victims if their financial demands are not met
- Speak to a family member or a trusted friend about the relationship. They may offer a different perspective or identify red flags you may have missed
This could be a social media post of a child requiring funds for critical operation, or a call pretending to be from the hospital or police telling you that your relative has had a life-threatening accident and needs a cash deposit for an emergency life-saving medical surgery.
Beware of deals that sound too good to be true. Fraudsters use discounted prices to entice shoppers. Discounted pricing, especially for designer products, is also a red flag of counterfeit goods. When you buy counterfeit goods, you may be paying criminals who then use the money to fund other illegal activities.
Fraudsters sometimes also create a sense of urgency to pressure you into making a snap decision. This can be done through time-limited offers or flash sales, where a product is available at an extremely low price only for a limited period of time
Fake websites or reviews
Fraudsters can create fake websites that impersonate well-known brands. They may steal logos of reputable brands, the website layout and a similar domain name. They will use these websites to lure you into sharing your personal and financial information with them. They can also use fake reviews to gain the confidence of shoppers. It’s best to avoid products that have no reviews at all, bad reviews, or only five-star reviews that are written in a similar way.
Unusual payment methods
Most reputable online stores will allow you to pay by credit or debit card, or through a secure payment gateway. Be suspicious of any requests for payment through bank transfer or virtual currencies. You should only authorise the payment if you are very sure the other party is legitimate.
Gift card scams
If you want to buy a gift card, do so only on an authorised retailer's website, instead of an online auction or from any third-party websites.
Beware of fraudulent emails that seem as though they are sent by legitimate delivery companies, informing you that you have an upcoming delivery or that you have missed one. These could be phishing emails from fraudsters who are trying to lead you to a fraudulent website to capture your personal information or infect your device with malware.
Fake charity scams
Be careful when donating to charities that you are unfamiliar with online. Fraudsters can set up fake charities and solicit donations calls, email campaigns, fake social media accounts, websites or even on crowdfunding platforms. You should do your due diligence and ensure that the charity is legitimate before donating.
Card fraud begins with the theft of either a card or its data: name, number, expiration date, and verification/CVV code. Fraudsters commonly acquire card details online via malware, phishing emails, or sometimes from statements thrown in the bin.
Counterfeit cards still seen to make unauthorised face to face purchases in countries that have not yet rolled out Chip & PIN and continue to rely on magnetic stripe.
Identity theft can often lead to new credit accounts being opened fraudulently.
Account takeover is when a fraudster assumes your identity on your existing card/account.
Card not present scams are unauthorised purchases over the internet, phone or mail resulting from a lost or stolen credit or debit card or card numbers. Find out how card not present scams can occur and how you can prevent it from happening. Watch now.
Below are some precautions you can take to safeguard yourself and avoid becoming a victim of ATM fraud.
- Shred credit card statements before disposing of them.
- Review your statements every month. Check for any suspicious transactions and report them immediately.
- Never use an easily guessable number as your ATM PIN
- Don’t let anyone have access to your PIN. If you think someone has seen your PIN, change it
- Don't let your debit or credit card out of your sight during a point-of-sale transaction
- Sign the back of your debit or credit card on the signature panel as soon you receive it
- Report lost or stolen cards immediately
- Report any mobile phone issues (not being able to make calls, send texts, etc.) to your mobile phone provider to ensure a fraudster has not taken over your mobile phone number
- Contact your bank immediately if there is any unusual activity on your mobile phone account
With the growing popularity and reliance on online purchases, fraudsters are also getting more sophisticated with the ways they deceive and trick unsuspecting shoppers in cyber space using payment scams.
Account takeover is a form of identity theft where fraudsters successfully gain access to your banking services and are able to steal funds or information.
How accounts are taken over:
Scammers use fictitious emails to trick you into disclosing your personal information or banking details which allows them to access your accounts without your authorisation
- Malicious software
Malicious software sent via links in suspicious emails can be installed on your device to steal personal data once you click on a link or download the files
- SIM porting
With access to personal information, fraudsters can request SIM replacement cards to gain access to authentication messages sent to your mobile
Learn more about account takeover here.
Fraudsters ask victims to receive or transfer funds for a small fee. It sounds like easy money, but by agreeing, you could be laundering criminal revenues and participating in crime. Never agree to transfer money for people you don't know.
Victims are tempted by a good deal for a gadget, amusement park or concert tickets sold online. They may be directed to fake websites to make payments. They transfer funds to the seller for the costs, duties or delivery charges but never receives the item.
What to watch out for:
- Spelling mistakes in the URL. Fake sites spell words differently to trick you into thinking you’re on the legitimate website. For example, then may use ‘SC8’ rather than ‘SCB’
- Looks and feel of the website. Colours and logos may look different to what you would expect
- Too good to be true deals. If prices on a site are a lot lower than other sellers, it could be a scam
- Unusual methods for payment. A fake site may ask you to pay by bank transfer rather than by card
- Bad reviews. Always check for reviews. Bad, or missing reviews are a sign that something may not be right
- Pressure to purchase. Fake sites will use a sense of urgency to persuade you to buy
"The bad guys aren't standing still. Neither should we."
Bill Winters | Group Chief Executive