Almost every week there’s a news report of a data breach happening somewhere around the world.

The types of information stolen often varies – from names and email addresses to debit and credit card numbers – but it can all be used by fraudsters to commit their crimes.

To keep you protected, every bank uses advanced fraud screening systems continuously to detect and stop any suspicious transactions on your account, preventing £6.40 in every £10 of attempted fraud last year. If an account is identified as potentially affected by a data breach, these rules become even more stringent.

You should also check your bank statements regularly and contact your bank immediately if you spot any transactions you don’t recognise.

Be wary

It’s always important to watch out for any suspicious phone calls, texts and emails from someone claiming to be from your bank, the police or utility or telecoms companies. This is even more vital in the event of a data breach.

Fraudsters often use the publicity surrounding a breach to make their scam approaches appear more credible, and play on the fears of their victims.

Criminals sometimes use stolen the contact details – such as email address or phone numbers – to target their victims. But other fraudsters will just approach anyone, in the hope that they might get lucky.

These scam calls, texts and emails often claim that, following the data breach, there has been fraud on your account and that you need to act quickly to safeguard your money. They’ll then claim you need to transfer your cash to a so-called ‘safe account’, which in fact they control.

Or the fraudster may claim that you’re due compensation because of the inconvenience of the breach, and ask for your bank details to make a payment.

How to stay safe

Be extremely wary of any calls, texts or emails out of the blue purporting to be from your bank, the police, a utility company or a retailer asking for personal or financial details, or for you to transfer money.

Fraudsters may already have some information about you, so do not take this as confirmation that their approach is genuine.

Remember:

  • Your bank or the police will never call you to ask for your 4 digit PIN or your online banking password, or for you to transfer money to a new account for “fraud reasons”.
  •  If you feel something is suspicious or feel vulnerable, hang up, wait five minutes, then call your bank or card issuer on their advertised number to report the fraud.

Never disclose your:

  • Four digit card PIN to anyone, including the bank or police.
  • Your password or online banking codes.
  • Personal details unless you are sure who you are talking to.