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How to protect yourself from fraud



The tricks criminals use to get you to trust them and five ways to protect yourself.

3 min read

In this article, we share five tips to beat financial fraudsters as research reveals the tricks they use to get your cash.

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Analysis released by Financial Fraud Action (FFA) UK, which fights fraud for Britain’s payments industry, reveals six language tricks used by scammers to gain trust over the phone.

They include using your personal information gathered from elsewhere, apologising for taking up your time to attract sympathy and pretending to be an authority figure.

The research, which involved studying real recordings and transcripts of scam calls, reinforces FFA UK’s week-long fraud campaign run with the UK government and backed by the banking industry.

It was conducted with speech pattern analyst Dr Paul Breen from the Westminster Professional Language Centre. He argues that, by using certain “patterns of trust”, financial fraudsters can appear legitimate and get around our general wariness of strangers by mimicking the kinds of people we tend to believe.

Other methods used by criminals are:

  • remaining patient as they continue to build up layers of authenticity until you’re convinced they’re legitimate
  • welcoming your scepticism and acknowledging your concerns 
  • increasing or decreasing the pressure by creating a false sense of urgency or using understanding language


“By using certain “patterns of trust”, financial fraudsters can appear legitimate and get around our general wariness of strangers by mimicking the kinds of people we tend to believe.”

Adam uses technology to combat fraud wherever possible, providing the latest security measures that are both highly efficient and user friendly for our clients. For example, voice recognition technology was introduced in November providing added security while making it quicker and easier for clients to call us.

Five ways to protect yourself

Five top tips to protect yourself from fraud:

  • never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full banking password
  • don’t assume an email, text or phone call is authentic
  • don’t be rushed – a genuine organisation won’t mind waiting
  • listen to your instincts – you know if something doesn’t feel right
  • stay in control – don’t panic and make a decision you’ll regret

Industry figures from FFA UK show that losses caused by financial fraud fell by 8 per cent in the first half of 2017. But the body warns criminals continue to use a range of tactics to obtain personal and security information – and separate research released recently shows people in the UK are still vulnerable.

The Take Five campaign has released the research findings having questioned over 2,000 people about trust.

Almost half those questioned said they were more likely to trust someone they did not know over the phone if they “sounded like a nice person”, while 42% said “sounding like they know what they’re talking about” would make them seem more trustworthy and 30% said “offering to help with a problem” could work.

Katy Worobec, Director of FFA UK, said: “While the payments industry stops six in every 10 pounds of attempted fraud, it cannot solve the problem alone.

“Criminals try to take advantage of our instinctive willingness to accept someone at their word. That’s why we are asking everyone to take five – to take that moment – to pause and think before they respond to any financial requests and share any personal or financial details.”

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Criminals attempting fraud use a range of techniques to gain trust over the phone, and research shows people are still vulnerable to such tricks. By trusting your instincts, taking your time and not assuming an email, phone call or text is authentic, you can protect yourself and keep your cash safe.


Your protection against fraud is our priority. We are committed to protecting your identity and your funds against fraud, and we work tirelessly to keep you informed of the issues you should be aware of in order to be vigilant.