Browser Not Supported

We no longer support Internet Explorer 11 as a browser.
Please download a more secure modern browser below.

How to avoid online banking scams  

16th February 2024

In 2023, fraud accounted for almost 40% of all crime in England and Wales (Home Office data). Scammers have become increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to dupe individuals out of their money. Just a little knowledge can keep you protected from falling victim to a scam. So, whether you’re concerned or curious, read on to find out how to  spot online banking scams and how you can avoid being caught on a crook’s hook. 

Most common online banking scams to look out for 

According to Forbes, self-confidence can make you more vulnerable to falling for scams. So, keeping in mind you could be a target of a scam, could be your first and best way of avoiding being one. To stay vigilant, you need to know what to look out for:  

Phishing scams 

Phishing scams are when criminals try to trick their victims into revealing personal data so they can steal their money or identity.  

As of the end of 2023, the number of phishing scams reported to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) stood at an astonishing 27 million. It’s one of the most common financial scams.  

Phishing emails and text messages may contain links to websites that contain malware or request the victim to provide sensitive information such as password or asking them to transfer money. Criminals may also phone victims pretending to be from a reputable company and then send text messages containing links to defraud them. 

Phishing scammers will look for personal information online. You can lower your risk of being targeted by keeping your personal information online to a minimum. Be cautious of unexpected emails and verify the sender's legitimacy before clicking on any links, review your privacy statement on your social media accounts  

Report scams to the NCSC.  

Impersonation scams 

Scammers will try to impersonate a trusted organisation such as a bank, energy provider or even the police. Fraudsters may call, email or message members of the public claiming they owe money or need to provide sensitive information, usually urgently, to pressure the victim into acting rather than thinking.  

Always be wary of unsolicited calls, emails or messages – even if they appear to be from an organisation you trust. Five for Fraud suggests three key steps to take before giving away any information or taking action when it comes to our finances: stop, challenge, protect. Find out more in our Five to Stop Fraud hub. 

Fake websites 

Fraudsters don’t just stop at impersonating people, they’ll go to extreme lengths and that includes building fake websites like those you see when accessing your online bank account. These will be similar in style to the real website and hoping to trick victims into sharing their personal information.  

Always look closely at website addresses you’re being directed to when you receive messages and keep a beady eye to spot the differences such as errors in imagery and spelling mistakes. Legitimate banking websites use secure connections, so ensure the URL starts with "https://" and look for a padlock symbol in the address bar. It’s also a good idea to bookmark your bank’s website address, so you know it’s the right one. 

Computer viruses and malware 

Malicious software can infect your devices and compromise your online banking security. By simply clicking a link or opening an email attachment you could be allowing your device to become infected with malicious software or malware. Once hackers are in, they could be able to gather data from your device which will allow them access to your financial information.

Always be cautious about what you're opening or clicking on and take time to check where emails are coming from. You should also ensure your antivirus software is up-to-date to give you and your finances an extra layer of protection. 

Risks of public Wi-Fi 

When using public Wi-Fi in places such as bars, restaurants and airports you enjoy convenient and free internet access. However, these open networks, which don't require a password, also present risks. Hackers can easily intercept your private information, potentially compromising your online bank account login details and making you susceptible to bank fraud.  

So, if you do access public Wi-Fi, don’t access your personal or financial information during this time. Be a more mindful of the warnings and alerts for insecure websites and if available, use a VPN. 

 How to protect yourself from bank scams 

Being aware of the types of scams around is a first layer of defence against online banking scams. It helps keep the public vigilant and criminals on the back foot. To make sure they stay there, here’s some ways you can keep yourself and your finances protected from online thieves:  

  1. Use strong, unique passwords: Trying to remember passwords for every account you open can feel mindboggling. But don’t let this lead you into the trap of having simple, duplicate passwords across accounts. The longer the password, the longer it will take to crack. According to, a seven character password, even with a mix of numbers, symbols and upper and lower case can be cracked in four seconds. If your password is 11 characters long, it can take three years. Make it 12 characters and you’re looking at 226 years before it will be cracked!  
  1. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): 2FA enhances security by requiring a second verification step during the login process, ensuring access attempts are genuinely made by you. This verification is conducted through an alternative method, providing an extra layer of protection to guard against various cyber threats like phishing, social engineering, and password breaches. 
    Monitor your online bank account: You know you best. So, if something looks out of place, you can spot it quickly and report anything suspicious to your bank. Take the time to regularly review your bank statements and transactions.  
  1. Stay informed about the latest scams and phishing techniques: Knowledge is a powerful tool in the fight against online banking fraud. 

Technology is all around us, most of us it use it every day, including to manage our finances. Don’t leave your door unlocked for scammers to get in. 

Reporting a bank scam 

If you believe you’ve fallen victim of an online banking scam, it is crucial to act promptly. If you’ve received a suspicious call or message, or documents relating to an account you didn’t apply for, it’s best to report these direct to your bank so they can take necessary action to secure your account and investigate the incident. 

 Hodge has a dedicated Fraud team to support you with any of the above. You just need to get in touch.  Contact our Fraud team by emailing [email protected] or give us a call on 029 2274 0898. 

More help and support from Hodge 

Online banking is largely safe and can be made even safer with the right precautions in place. There are so many benefits to going online, and as long as you know what to be wary of, you can keep scammers at bay most of the time.   

For additional assistance and resources, visit the Hodge scams and fraud hub. It’s full of valuable information on security measures, scam awareness, and guidance on securing your online banking experience.  

This article is correct at time of publishing and for general information purposes only. We recommend you speak to a professional financial adviser for advice. You can find a financial adviser and further personal finance information at  

Related Articles