Email and mobile phones and are indispensable communication tools. However, fraudsters exploit them – and especially the opportunity to remain completely anonymous.
Your staff might not expect a simple request for information to come from a fraudster – especially when they give out similar information all the time.
Unfortunately, being too helpful can work against you – and bring great rewards to the fraudster.
It’s important to trust your gut reaction. So if something doesn't feel good, it probably isn’t. Not sure if an information request is genuine? Check if it’s legitimate – perhaps by asking a colleague.
• Stick to the order – write cheques in serial number order. And make sure all cheques remain in the book, with none removed from the middle or back.
• Write clearly - write or print starting from the very left of the cheque. Use reasonably large writing or font size.
• Be specific – when you’re writing a cheque to a large organisation such as HM Revenue and Customs, never simply make the cheque payable to that organisation. Always add further details on the payee line, for example ‘HM Revenue and Customs re. JJ Jones Acc Ref 1234567’.
• Remove dead space - draw a line through unused areas, including the ends of lines. This stops fraudsters adding extra information. And don’t leave large spaces between words.
• Be careful with the figure box – never put a space between the ‘£’ and the amount you write in the figures box. And always draw a line through any spaces you don’t use after the numbers.
• Keep a record - account for spoiled cheques. And if you do spoil a cheque, make sure you destroy it properly.
• Check who you are dealing with – before you discuss anything or communicate further.
• Consider the implications of giving information to someone you don’t know – however important the reason.
• Understand the information you are asked to provide – and question any requests that seem unreasonable or unusual.
• Check if an approach is genuine - call the originator back with a known telephone number from your own records.
• Be wary of calls claiming to be from your bank – it could be a fraudster looking for sensitive information. Phone your relationship manager if the call relates to other banking matters.
• Be suspicious of priority emails – does that email really need a reply immediately, without further thought?
• Shred almost everything - a lot of fraud and identity theft happens after mail and rubbish is stolen.
• Protect your passwords – commit them to memory, not paper, and try to use a combination of letters, numbers and characters. You should always change them as regularly as possible.
• Use the preview pane - try to avoid opening emails that say you have won a prize, or emails that ask you to verify something.
• Be wary of email attachments and links – they can contain viruses or other harmful programs.
• Don’t give out your details – we will never ask for your security number or password in an email. Never disclose this information to anyone.