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Fraudsters are always looking for opportunities to target individuals and unfortunately, with the Covid-19 pandemic, they are finding new ways to do this.

Please, therefore, be extra vigilant and take care if you receive emails, texts, calls or letters claiming to be from OakNorth Bank. We will never ask you for your password, log-in details or PIN.

Top Tips for protecting yourself from Fraud and Scam

  • Don’t give your passwords or login credentials to anyone. Keep your bank details (including account details, security codes, secure personal information or any other details that allow you to gain access to your account) private.
  • Don’t reply to, click on links, or open attachments in suspicious emails.
  • Don’t enter your Online Banking details or other personal information if you happen to click on a link to a suspicious email or text message.
  • Don’t download software or let anyone remotely log on to your computer or devices, either during or after a cold call.
  • Don’t rush to download/open any files (especially .exe and .zip) that are attached to an email or text message from anyone, even from someone you know. Always double check the files’ integrity.
  • Don’t transfer or withdraw money out of your account if you’re instructed to do so for security reasons.
  • Don’t keep outdated version of software (browsers, operating systems etc.) in your devices as this increases chances of data compromise.

Keep your security information safe. You can refer to section 5 of our personal savings terms and conditions for more information.

 

Different Fraud Schemes:

1. Identity Theft

Identify theft happens when a fraudster has obtained enough information about someone’s identity (such as their name, date of birth, current or previous address) to commit identity fraud.

There are simple strategies to help protect your financial identity:

  • Safely dispose of personal and financial information and securely transfer  confidential information over email
  • Never disclose your password to anyone.
  • Activate online banking to digitally view your statements, banking details, etc.
  • When you pick your password, rather than thinking of a single word, consider choosing a memorable phrase and then take the first letter of each word to form your password. It’s also good practice to have a mix of numbers, higher and lower-case letters, and special characters in your password.
  • Do not share your security questions and answers with anyone. If your security details are lost or stolen or you think someone knows them or has used or tried to use them, contact us immediately by calling us on the contact details provided here.

2.  Cheque Fraud

Cheque fraud refers to criminal acts that involve making the unlawful use of cheques in order to illegally acquire or use funds that do not exist within the account balance or account-holder’s legal ownership.

Steps you should take to avoid fraud on cheques that you have written:

  • Ensure that any blank spaces on your cheque are crossed through, i.e. after the name of the person or business you are paying and after the amount in words.
  • Don’t leave large spaces between words.
  • Always use a black or blue ballpoint pen or a pen with indelible ink so that your writing cannot easily be erased or altered.
  • Keep a regular check on your account statement to monitor your cheque payments.

3.  Social Engineering Fraud

Below, we have described a few of the social engineering frauds criminals are committing which you should know about in order to protect yourself online:

3.1 Cloned Websites

  • We do not use any other spelling of our company website name/domain other than https://www.oaknorth.co.uk.
  • Don’t automatically use the first website you find through a search engine (such as Google or Bing) – even if the web address seems authentic and you’re in a hurry.
  • Take a couple of minutes to double-check the website and its homepage; don’t dive straight into filling out an application form or logging into your account with your credentials. Visit the homepage and read the text there. You should be suspicious if the website contains spelling mistakes or uses a different style than you’re used to.
  • Do not click on a link found via search engines, suspicious emails or suspicious text message but instead type in the URL in the search box. Do not open web links that are identified as “Not Secured”.
  • Be very suspicious of websites that don’t start with https and/or display an IP Address or numerical address (e.g., http://192.134.2.1) in your web browser’s address bar instead of a domain name (e.g., www.oaknorth.co.uk)
  • Do not click to a web link that is misspelled.
  • For more safety, consider saving or “bookmark” frequently visited and trusted websites to your browser, then access those sites through your saved links in your Bookmark or Favourites tab.

3.2 Phishing Scams

The term ‘Phishing’ is an action where fraudsters contact victims through emails, proposing to be someone from a trusted organization asking for personal and security information. OakNorth Bank will never ask you to transfer money to a ‘reserve account’, from your existing account or to open a new account. If you receive a phone call, email or other method of communication advising you to do so, always remember to take the time to ask yourself if the contact and request makes sense, act with care, and never share your personal or sensitive information. Be cautious about disclosing any personal information. Where in doubt contact the bank using trusted contact details.

Things to remember:

  • Watch out for emotions: Phishing emails are often dangled with a financial reward, strict deadlines, curious content or negative consequences.
  • Examine the email closely: look for email signatures, senders address, email tone, date format, appropriate subject, legitimate attachments, links and the login page to ensure the authenticity of the email.
  • Don’t reply to, click on links, or open attachments in suspicious emails, especially those in your spam folder – in most cases they are marked as spam by the email providers for a good reason.

3.3 Vishing Scams

Vishing is the telephone version of phishing. These are unsolicited phone calls from fraudsters which will encourage you to give out your personal details, such as sensitive financial information.

How to avoid becoming a victim

  • If you receive a suspicious or unexpected call, always verify the caller using an independently checked phone number.
  • Never give out your personal details (such as your password or security details) over the phone, even to a caller claiming to be from your bank or the police. If you get a call asking for this information, end the call immediately.
  • If you receive a request to download software to connect to your computer and you have not initiated the conversation with the company, decline to do so.
  • If you accidentally share your details, call your financial institution immediately. You should use a different phone number to the one they called you on.  This is because vishing fraudsters can intercept your outgoing calls, even after you’ve ended the fraudulent call – so they could pretend to be your bank, for example, when you try to report them.  Always verify the number you are calling.

3.4 Smishing Scam

Smishing is when a fraudster sends a text message pretending to be from your bank or a financial institution that you receive a service from or have an account with, to say there’s a problem, ask you for sensitive information and try to trick you into giving away your personal and security information.

What should you do if you receive a text?

  • Don’t click on any of the links and check the number on our website to ensure that it is genuine – If the number isn’t genuine, delete the text message from your phone.
  • If you’ve clicked on the link by mistake, it is advised to run a scan with your antivirus software to check for any malicious software that may have been downloaded onto your phone.

4.  Mobile Phones Scams

As smartphone technology continues to evolve, it also paves the way for an increasing number of mobile apps scams. These scams can cost their victims anywhere in the range of just a few pounds to their whole life savings. As using these devices becomes a more integral part of our daily lives, it’s important to be aware of ways to avoid mobile scams.

Here are some tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of mobile phone scams:

  • Don’t disclose your mobile password or pattern to access your mobile to anyone. Always try to use biometrics for accessing your mobile device.
  • If your mobile is lost and you are a user of our mobile banking app and you suspect any suspicious activity could be performed, contact us immediately by calling us here

Get Familiar with Your Phone’s Security Settings

Simply becoming more knowledgeable about your phone, its operating system, its capabilities and vulnerabilities, along with the items on your bill, will make you less vulnerable to becoming a victim. All smartphones have security settings that can be adjusted and set to keep your personal information safe. iOS and Android have been paying special attention to their security settings and will have several ways to add further layers of security.

How to report Fraud

We will never ask you to send your personal passwords or security codes via email, text message or social media. If you receive a request for this information, or any other suspicious email, text message or contact on social media, please email us on phishing@oaknorth.com.

We take fraud seriously and will always do our best to protect you!