How to protect yourself from fraud

Follow our fraud protection advice to help keep your money safe.
Coronavirus scams

If you suspect you’ve been a victim of fraud then please report your case to Action Fraud and call us on 01228 403141 to discuss how we can help you.

Be wary of scams related to coronavirus (Covid-19)

Criminals use exceptional circumstances such as the current COVID-19 situation as an opportunity to target people for fraud scams.

They often pose as employees of genuine organisations, such as building societies, banks or the government, claiming they are dealing with coronavirus-related issues. They may ask you to pay them money upfront or provide personal information which enables them to commit fraud.

Scammers often use pressure tactics to stop you thinking about what they’re asking you to do, so please take extra care at this time.

Scams to watch out for

Criminals are using a variety of tactics including fake emails, phone calls, texts and social posts, using coronavirus as their cover story.


‘Phishing’ is when criminals send a message to as many people as possible claiming to come from a genuine organisation such as a bank, building society or similar. They may offer services such as insurance, investments or refunds of some kind. If you think you’ve received a scam message then don’t reply to it or click any of the links inside.

SMS/text scams

We are aware of various coronavirus SMS scams offering people ‘goodwill payments’ or claiming that the recipient is being fined for leaving their home. If you receive an SMS that claims something like this, don’t reply to it or open any links in the message.

Impersonation scams

We’ve heard reports of criminals pretending to be from various organisations including HMRC, offering goodwill payments or tax rebates via text and automated calls. Most genuine organisations won’t text or call about rebates or penalties, so these communications are often fake. Keep a look out for generic greetings, odd email addresses or badly written messages, even if the initial message seems very convincing.

Phone calls and WhatsApp

Criminals have been using WhatsApp messages or automated phone messages to try and trick people into revealing their personal or financial details. It’s worth noting that financial organisations will never contact you via WhatsApp for any important reasons.

Social media scams

Some people have received direct messages on Twitter and other social sites from criminals attempting to gather personal data. Most genuine organisations would never use social media in this way, so if you receive a suspicious message then don’t reply or click any of the links in it.

These are just a few examples of how criminals have been trying to trick people in the current climate, but please be aware that scammers are taking advantage in other ways too. HMRC have a list of current scams on their website including what to do if you think you’ve been targeted.

Here are some things which we'll never do

  1. Ask for your PIN or any other of your passwords and codes over the phone or via email or text message
  2. Send someone to your home to collect cash, bank cards or anything else
  3. Ask you to email or text any personal or banking information such as your passwords and codes or account details
  4. Ask you to authorise the transfer of funds to a new account or hand over cash
  5. Call to advise you to buy diamonds, land or any other commodities
  6. Ask you to carry out a test transaction online or anywhere else

Useful Links

The following websites contain important information on protecting yourself against fraud and identity theft, including banking online.

Fraud Protection Tips

  • General fraud protection

    1) Cards Keep your cards safe and never leave them unattended

    2) ATMs - Be cautious when using a cash machine, looking out for anyone behaving suspiciously and for signs of tampering on the machine

    3) Passwords & Codes - Never tell anyone else your PIN/password/access code/passcode, and never write any of them down in a way which could easily be understood by someone else.

    4) Scams - Be wary of unprompted phone calls, emails or text messages asking you for personal information such as your PIN/password/access code/passcode. We’ll never call, text or email you asking for account information

    5) Watch Your Account - Regularly check your account for unfamiliar transactions. Let us know immediately if you notice anything unusual

  • Mobile banking app

    1) Virus Protection - Check your mobile devices are protected against the risk of downloading malware (malicious software) or viruses

    2) Phone PIN Protection - Set up a PIN, fingerprint or face ID on your mobile device, don’t store your passcode/password or access code on it and don’t share it with others

    3) No To Public Wifi - Avoid using public Wi-Fi and disable Bluetooth when using our App

    4) Official App Stores - Only ever download our App from the official app stores we have approved (iTunes or Google Play)

    5) No Altered Devices - Don't install the App on a rooted or jailbroken devices (i.e. a handset which has had its default operating system restrictions removed)

  • Internet banking

    1) Official Links - Only log on from our website (or for businesses)

    2) Software Protection - Install firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware on your computer. Keep them, your operating system and browser up to date and carry out regular scans

    3) Secure Wi-Fi - If you have your own WiFi hub, make sure it’s securely configured and password protected

    4) Public Internet - Don’t use public computers to access Cumberland Internet Banking unless absolutely necessary, always ensuring your access details cannot be viewed by anybody else and you log out when finished

    5) Be Aware - Never log on to your Internet Banking if asked to do so by a cold caller (for example someone offering to fix, upgrade or protect your computer), and do not disclose any of your personal access information

  • Codes and numbers

    Including your PINs, passwords, access code and passcode

    1) Don't write them down - Never write down or record your personal codes and numbers in a way which could easily be understood by someone else

    2) Tough To Guess - Never choose personal codes and numbers which could be easy for others to guess (such as your date of birth)

    3) Keep Secret - Never tell anyone your personal codes and numbers. This includes family, friends, Cumberland staff and the Police - you are the only one that should ever know them

    4) Keep Them Covered - Always cover your personal codes and numbers when entering them to prevent anyone else seeing them

    5) Card PIN & Phone - Never enter your PIN into a telephone keypad.

  • Statements

    1) Regular Checking - Regularly check your statements for unfamiliar transactions

    2) Keep Us Informed - If you notice anything unusual on your statements, let us know immediately

    3) Missing Post - If you’re expecting a statement in the post and it doesn’t arrive, please tell us

    4) eStatements - If you're an Internet Banking enabled customer, you can access eStatements online or via our Mobile Banking App.

    5) Mobile Banking App - Use the Cumberland Mobile Banking App to keep up to date with your latest eStatements and transactions.

  • Debit cards

    1) Keep Them Close - Don’t let your card out of your sight when making a transaction

    2) Only You - Never allow someone else to use your card, not even your partner, family or friends

    3) Don't Be Distracted - Don’t let anyone distract you when using your card and always put it away quickly afterwards

    4) At Home - If you live in a property where other people have access to your mail, you can ask us to make your card unusable until you call us to say you have received it

    5) Lost or Stolen - If your card is lost or stolen, report this to us immediately by telephoning the number on the back of your card. If you call out of hours it is important that you leave a message on the answer phone facility. By doing so your liability for any fraudulent transactions ceases at that point

  • At the ATM

    1) Behind You - Be aware of others around you. If someone close by the machine is behaving suspiciously or makes you feel uncomfortable, use another one

    2) Keep Your Eyes Peeled - If there's anything unusual about the cash machine or there are signs of tampering, don't use it and tell the building society, bank, Police or premises owner immediately

    3) Avoid Darkness - Avoid using cash machines in poorly lit or isolated areas

    4) Cover Up - Cover the keypad to avoid anyone seeing you enter your PIN

    5) Swallowed Card - If the cash machine doesn't return your card, tell us immediately

  • Cheques

    1) Clear Payee Details - Add additional details next to the person or company you're paying when possible, for example XYZ bank, re J Jones, account number XXX.

    2) Close Spaces - Draw a line through unused spaces and include the word 'only' after writing the amount in words.

    3) Making Changes - If you make a mistake, cross it out and sign your name next to the correction

    4) Blank Cheques - Never sign blank cheques. Ever

    5) Full Completion - When writing cheques, be sure to complete all sections, including the payee name, and the amount in both words and figures