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TSB Pete Markey's tips for avoiding fraud during Covid

From caravan cons and streaming services to fake NHS staff

The challenges of Covid-19 and the lockdown have been felt right across the UK and it’s been particularly disheartening to see how fraudsters have used this situation to exploit consumers and small businesses when they are at their most vulnerable.


TSB partners with police taskforces to provide funding and specialist training to boost regional responses to fraud. The Bank’s Fraud Refund Guarantee means that every TSB customer will receive their money back, should they ever innocently fall victim – so protecting our customers is at the heart of our model and offer to customers.

Throughout lockdown, we’ve been using our social and comms channels to ensure customers and non-customers alike have the best information possible to help prevent them falling victim to the bewildering array of fraud attacks that criminals have masterminded over recent months.

The aim of this article is to share some fraud prevention tips that our Head of Fraud, Ashley Hart has been sharing with the public  - and the common tricks fraudsters use -to help you, and the companies you work for, avoid getting caught out.

Firstly, don’t fall prey to the caravan con. Many of us have ended up with staycation holidays this year, and there has been a rise in demand for caravans and motorhomes. Fraudsters have quickly set up fake ‘for sale’ listings which have tricked people into handing over money and receiving nothing in return. The tip here is to never pay in an unusual way (such as a money transfer or voucher) and instead use your card as you’ll have more protection. And, check independent reviews, not just those on one website as some may be fake. Search for the company online and see if others have reported fraud or a bad experience.

Secondly, another trend in lockdown has been the rise of subscribers for streaming TV and film services (and who doesn’t love a good boxset?). Fraudsters have been sending out emails that look genuine (with an official logo) claiming that your account has been suspended as your payment details can’t be validated. You get asked to follow a link and input your bank details (which gives the criminals enough information to defraud you). The tip here is to go directly to the provider’s website (don’t click on any links) and log into your account to check that all is in order.

In lockdown, many of us have used social media to keep in touch with friends and family. As we live our lives more publicly online, fraudsters are combing through profiles and posts to build up enough information to sneak into your accounts and steal your hard-earned cash. To them, a public post containing personal details is the same as you leaving your house window open. So it’s vital that you check the privacy settings for your social media accounts and be aware of where your posts could end up. And make sure to not accept friend requests from people you don’t know.

And the final one to mention is the fraudsters who are knocking on doors. They go door to door posing as NHS staff selling fake Covid-19 tests that are both useless and dangerous, as they give a meaningless diagnosis. Other scammers have been offering to do people’s shopping for them but are simply after their money. The key here is to remain suspicious of random visits and always ask for ID and check that it's genuine by calling the company the visitor claims to be from.

And if you want any further tips on how to prevent fraud please visit https://www.tsb.co.uk/fraud-prevention-centre/