Helping you stay safe from common fraud…

We’re a mutual building society and we’re proud to deliver a first-class customer service consistently. Our members are at the heart of what we do and we’re committed to helping people towards a safe and secure financial future. One important part of this is helping you stay safe against fraud.

Take Five

Take Five - to stop fraud

Take Five is a national awareness campaign led by UK Finance and backed by His Majesty’s Government delivered with, and through, a range of partners in the UK payments industry. They offer lots of hints and tips and they provide straight-forward and impartial advice on financial fraud prevention. Visit the Take Five website for their advice and to access the helpful material they provide. Here you can find more information and advice on how to protect yourself.

July Update: Scammers can operate all around the world. So, it’s important to keep your card and card details safe when travelling. International card fraud losses for 2023 were £134.5 million.


  • Make sure your card company has your up-to-date contact details.
  • Ensure you have your card company’s 24-hour telephone number with you in case you need to contact them.
  • Only take cards you intend to use, leave the others securely at home.


  • Don’t let your card out of sight, especially at restaurants and bars.
  • Don’t give your PIN to anyone, even if they claim to be the police or your card company.
  • Shield your PIN when typing it in.
  • Check your bank transactions when you can to see if there’s anything unfamiliar.
  • Look after all your other belongings like passports, wallets, purses, travel and ticket information.


  • Check your bank and card statements for any unfamiliar transactions. If you do spot any, report them to your bank immediately.

UK Finance Annual Fraud Report 2024


Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.


Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse, or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.


Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud

The campaign urges you to stop and consider whether a situation is genuine – to stop and think if what you’re being told really makes sense.

Below is some further important information to help keep you safe online from common frauds

Are you Scam Savvy?

Criminals are turning to more sophisticated ways to take your money, whether through online offers, emails or telephone calls. Can you outsmart them? Put your ability to spot a scam to the test with Take Five's spot a scam Quiz and see if you are scam savvy.

Things to look out for in emails…

  1. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be cautious of an email subject line or content that looks false or causes suspicion.
  2. Look out for poor spelling and grammar in emails. It can be a clear sign of phishing.
  3. Be suspicious of requests for lots of personal information. Ask yourself why do they need to know that? Or what is its relevance?
  4. Is there a deadline or countdown? Fraudsters will often use pressure to try and get you to act quickly and provide what they want.
  5. Check the sender's email address; hover your cursor over the senders email address as it’s listed in your inbox. If the website displayed isn’t in the name of the alleged email sender, it could be a phishing email.
  6. If you receive an email from an unknown sender, don’t action it without verifying the sender.
  7. Delete any suspect emails or text messages. Don’t forward it on to anyone as this can add some credibility and encourage the recipient to follow any instructions.
  8. Check the person who called you, or who sent you an email from an organisation, is genuine. Call them back on a verified number from the organisation's website or telephone directory.
  9. If you believe you have received a fake email, phone call or text message, contact the genuine party to notify them.
  10. Be careful if you have to allow anyone to have remote access to your PC or device. You must be certain the request is coming from a trusted source.

A quick jargon buster…

Phishing is where a fraudster will send an email which appears to be from a legitimate company, attempting to obtain personal details from you. These phishing emails often contain a link directing you to a website which will ask you to re-verify your details.

But beware, this will usually be a fake website but it will look real and could also trigger the unknowing download of a virus to your PC or device. If the fraudster gets hold of your password and personal details they can use this information to commit further crimes.

This is very similar to phishing but takes place over the phone. Instead of getting you to go to a website, the fraudster may request personal details from you directly or ask you to transfer money to an account.

Just like vishing, fraudsters contact you by phone but instead of a phone call it is done using text messages where you are usually asked to follow a link or call a telephone number. This is called smishing.

Again, this is another form of phishing but this scam takes places on Twitter and often involves getting users to hand over their usernames or passwords.

View further advice on how to protect yourself online here

Please note: This information does not constitute legal or financial advice given by Harpenden Building Society. No reliance should be placed on this guide and you must make your own decisions, we recommend that you seek independent advice if you have any questions or queries.

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