Published on: 27 July 2020

What the criminals are doing

We've seen an increase in fraudsters sending messages relating to coronavirus. For example, they might be offering additional financial support to help you during the crisis. Pretending to be from a reputable organisation, they make unexpected contact and try to get personal and financial information such as:

  • online banking login details,
  • your date of birth,
  • card numbers and
  • card reader codes.

They use this information to do things like:

  • Open bank accounts.
  • Get credit cards, loans and state benefits.
  • Order goods in your name.
  • Take over your existing accounts.
  • Take out mobile phone contracts.
  • Get genuine documents like passports and driving licences in your name.

What they do to appear genuine

They will often pretend they are from: banks and building societies, HMRC, TV Licensing, DVLA and telephone or broadband providers.

Fraudsters can use logos, make small changes to email addresses and website addresses/URLs. They can even make a text appear in your genuine conversation chain.

Examples of fraudulent texts

In these two recent examples, fraudsters have posed as Nationwide to trick the recipient into following a link. The link takes you to fake Nationwide web pages where they ask for personal and financial information.

Two more fake messages, posing as well-known organisations. They ask the recipients to visit fake web pages to and disclose personal information.

Protecting yourself

Be wary of cold calls, emails and texts asking you to provide personal and financial information.

We will never ask you to:

  • Update your details directly from a link in an email or text

  • Log directly into the Internet Bank via a link in an email, text or social media message.


  • Assume an email request, text or phone call is genuine.

  • Click on a link from a communication you weren't expecting.

You should:

  • 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.

  • Look out for spelling mistakes and unusual web addresses/URLs.