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Telephone Banking Fraud

Telephone Banking Fraud is a scam which is becoming increasingly commonplace. The fraudsters do not actually scam their victims online, but use the telephone to do so. Here’s how it works: 


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  • Make sure your 'warning' call is disconnected before calling your bank or card company, by waiting five minutes or calling a friend first.
  • Remember that banks and law enforcement would not ask for certain confidential information over the phone.

See also...


Social Engineering
Don't be manipulated by strangers into doing something or giving away confidential information.

Simple advice on how to keep online banking safe.

Learn about the many types of online fraud and how to spot them.


You receive a call from somebody who claims to be from an organisation you trust, such as your bank or the police. They inform you that there is a safety or security problem associated with your bank account or payment cards, and you need to take some kind of immediate preventative action, which normally involves telephoning your bank or card provider. They may prompt you by reminding you that the telephone number is on the back of your card. 

You end the call, find and dial the bank or card provider’s phone number and are asked a series of security questions and account details. 

However, the person on the other end of the call is not your bank or card issuer, but the fraudster who had just called you to tell you about the ‘problem’. When you ended the call from them, they did not terminate the call at their end, meaning they were still on the line asking you the confidential questions. 

You may also be asked to give your cards to a courier sent by the ‘bank’ or ‘police’ to ensure that they have been stopped, or for evidence. This is known as ‘Courier Fraud’ and you can read a real life account of it here

The Risks

  • You provide your account details and answers to security questions to fraudsters
  • Your bank account is emptied and/or cards used to their limit
  • You could become a victim of identity theft because you have revealed confidential financial and personal information

How to Avoid Telephone Banking Fraud

  • A bank or payment card company will never ask you to transfer money out of your account to another that you do not recognise, so hang up immediately. 
  • If you do think that the call may be authentic and you choose to call your bank or card issuer, call the number on your bank statement or other document from your bank – or on the back of your card – but be sure to use another phone from the one you received the call on. If you cannot access another phone, be sure to hang up for at least five minutes before you dial out, or call a friend (whose voice you recognise) before making another call. 
  • Never provide financial or personal details to a caller, but call back on a number you know to be authentic. Some scammers have the ability to spoof authentic numbers to fool you into thinking that they are genuine. 

If You Have Been a Victim of Telephone Banking Fraud 

  • Report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting  www.actionfraud.police.uk

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  •  Report it to your relevant bank or payment card provider immediately. You will find out how to do so by looking on their websites.