Just as technology has rapidly improved our lives, especially when it comes to managing our money – fraudsters and criminals have also become more sophisticated in their methods of attempting to get their hands on your money.
Although we’re always working hard to ensure you’re protected from fraudulent activity, there are also some simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your money. Within this guide, you can learn more about keeping your money safe and secure in your Suits Me® account.
Need to report suspicious activity on your Suits Me® account
Remember, if you receive any correspondence from us, we will NEVER ask you for:
- Your 4-digit card PIN,
- Any online banking passwords,
- Your mobile app mPIN number or password,
- To transfer money from one account to another for “security reasons”.
Here’s what to do if you do receive a call, email, or text message from us unexpectedly:
- Don’t call us back via the number on the message. Always double check it matches our number at the bottom of our website.
- Don’t click on unfamiliar links,
- Check the sender email address to ensure it aligns with ours,
- If you have any doubts about the format, language, or information within the email, message or via the phone always seek advice from a friend or family and give us a call or email to confirm before acting.
What is a scam?
A scam is a scheme used to cheat somebody out of something valuable, usually money. Usually, when it comes to your finances a criminal, in a variety of ways, tries to get you to reveal your personal information.
It’s not uncommon for a scammer to try and trick you into authorising a payment, making a purchase, or investing money into something by pretending they’re from your banking provider or a well-known organisation.
What is fraud?
Fraud is when you discover suspicious activity, such as an unknown transaction, on your account that you did not authorise. The fraudster would have gotten access to your details and accessed your account without you being aware of the situation.
Common tactics and methods used by fraudsters
Scammers will usually try and target you over the phone, by text message or through email. These tactics have been around for years and are becoming more and more sophisticated.
SMS Message (Smishing)
Also dubbed as “smishing” (SMS + Phishing), SMS scams involve a text message that looks as if it’s come from a reputable company or person with the aim of getting you to reveal your personal and financial information.
If you reply, this then gives scammers the tools to build a picture of you to ultimately steal your identity. Here are a few tactics commonly used and include:
- Getting you to call a number included in the text message,
- Try and induce fear and panic by using language and threats that cause a sense of urgency and forces you to ‘take action’,
- Messages are often sent from unknown numbers,
- Asking you to provide your account details by replying to the message.
What to do if you’ve received a suspicious text message?
- Don’t reply,
- Don’t click on any of the links within the text or download any attachments,
- Delete the text message from your phone,
- If you’re unsure, directly contact the organisation to confirm whether the message was from them by getting their number off their website.
⚠️ Suits Me®, or any provider, will NEVER ask you to provide your account information through an SMS Message.
Another tactic used by criminals is by calling your phone – mobile or landline – out of the blue, pretending to be from a trusted company, like the police, your banking provider, energy provider, or even a parking company.
Although the number they use to call you may look correct, it may be down to a trick called “number spoofing”. This is where a random mobile number is altered to look like you’re being called from a legitimate company. Some common vishing tactics include:
- Trying to persuade you to transfer money to another “safe account” as yours has been “compromised” in some way,
- Ask you to withdraw cash and send it to “police” for investigation,
- Press an option on your keypad to speak to a fraudster disguised as a “customer service agent”,
- Provide additional financial information, such as your full account details, card information and PIN number.
⚠️ When speaking to a fraudster, they won’t necessarily sound aggressive or pushy. They can be just as polite and friendly as any other customer service representative.
How to handle suspected scam calls
If you’re ever unsure at any point in a phone call, just hang up. If you would like to double-check with the company who supposedly called, it’s best to:
- Hang up the phone,
- Ensure the line is fully disconnected by listening closely,
- Wait 15 seconds before making another call or use another phone.
Phishing emails have been around for decades with some scammers going a long way to ensure an email looks like it’s from a trusted source. These can include your banking provider, HMRC, your utility providers, or even retailers you’ve shopped with. Typically, they will encourage you to:
- Click on a website link,
- Take urgent action by making threats of account closure or suggesting that more money will automatically be deducted from your account,
- Say that you’re owed money, or have won a prize or competition,
- Ask you to provide confidential and personal security details,
- Give you instructions to “verify your account” or “claim a prize” by asking you to fill out a form.
What to do if you receive a questionable email?
- Don’t click on any links or open any attachments,
- Do not reply,
- Contact the organisation, if in doubt,
- Check the sender’s email address to see if it looks legitimate (but don’t make any assumptions before contacting the organisation)
⚠️ Although you’ll be able to spot some phishing attempts from a mile away, some criminals dedicate a lot of time creating emails and false website that looks legitimate. To learn more about phishing, head to our detailed guide on How to Spot a Scam Email.
Prepaid debit card security
Billions of pounds a year are stolen by criminals through fraud and scams, despite steps taken by the industry to protect people’s money. Here are some top tips about how to use your prepaid card safely:
- Never write your prepaid card details down, in case the information falls into the wrong hands,
- Don’t save your card details on public devices or websites,
- Keep your card provider aware of any large purchases to avoid your card being blocked.
We’ve also put together a helpful guide explaining the Do’s and Don’ts of Debit Card Security to further help reduce the risk of your card details being stolen.
Account features to safeguard your card details
Is your card not where you left it? Or has it been missing for a while? Maybe you’ve noticed some suspicious activity and you don’t know the reason behind it? There are a couple of steps you can take immediately to ensure your card is not being used illegally.
Temporarily block your card
As a Suits Me® customer, you can temporarily block your card if you think it’s lost or stolen through online banking or your mobile banking app.
Cancel your card & order a new one
Still can’t find your card, or think it may have been stolen?
You can cancel your card by, giving us a call, using our mobile app, or via your online money account. You will be issued a new card which you will receive in 3-5 working days. There is a fee for replacing your debit card.
On the app, managing your card is easy! Just head to:
Home > My Cards > Choose Block or Stolen Card
ATM and card security
When using an ATM, there are several techniques used by fraudster’s to get their hands on your cash. Some of these include:
- Distraction theft – when very skilled and versatile scammers will try to get your attention whilst you’re taking money out of an ATM or posing as an authoritative figure such as a policeman or car park attendant and stealing your debit card or money.
- Card skimming – Involves criminals using a small device that captures and stores the details in the card’s magnetic strip, sometimes these can be placed in different areas on the ATM. These details include the card number, expiration date and the card holder’s full name.
- Contactless Debit Card fraud – There are many methods scammers use, but one of the most popular involves them standing close to someone in a crowded area, and using a card reader to process card payments through a person’s clothes or bag up to the value of £100.
How to protect your prepaid debit card from these scams:
- Be wary of anyone that’s stood too close to you and could potentially see you entering your PIN number. Consider using a different ATM if you’re not sure.
- Check for hidden cameras that can be very small and hidden in places you wouldn’t think to look. So, cover your PIN from all angles to reduce the risk of it being stolen.
- Check to see whether the keypads feel loose, spongy or look new compared to the ATM. This could imply that a false one has been placed over the original that can read your PIN.
- Check the card reader for any glue, tape or different colours that don’t appear to match the machine. Gently pull on the card reader to ensure it’s properly attached.
In many ways, the internet has added a new layer of convenience to our lives, including the way we manage our finances. So, when it comes to managing your money online or using your mobile, fraudsters are always trying to get one step ahead by using dirty tactics to try and steal your information.
How to protect yourself when using mobile online accounts
The arrival of mobile apps has changed the way we manage our money. It’s added more convenience to our lives and reduced our reliance on visiting a bank branch, therefore, ensuring your mobile app is kept safe is so important, just like taking precautions to secure our physical debit cards.
Here are some tips on how you can stay secure when using a mobile app:
- Secure your device with a password or biometric authentication and always remember to log out when you’re finished.
- Up your password game. Passwords are essential to provide an extra layer of security so make sure they contain a mixture of letters (both upper and lower case), numbers, special characters and ensure it’s unique to your mobile banking app.
- Don’t use public WiFi to carry out any transactions as they have minimal security,
- Check to see if your bank’s app is secure. When you log on to a banking app or website, you should expect to see a small padlock to indicate that the site is encrypted and therefore, secure.
- Check your balance regularly to help you to spot anything out of the ordinary before more money is taken from your account.
- Keep your device up to date – Your mobile is safest when you’re up to date with the updates. This means the developers have patched any weak spots, so your device is not susceptible to hackers.
How to keep your details safe when using online money accounts
Online money accounts are accessed through the web, rather than through an app on your phone.
- Strengthen passwords regularly by updating them to include special characters, numbers, and both lower and upper case letters.
- Never log in to online money accounts from a public computer or network – check if you’re connected to a secure WiFi first.
- Watch out for emails from your “bank” – Phishing emails can look almost identical to the official emails these days, so if it’s asking to click a link and log in, you should close the email, and search for the official login page online before entering any details.
- Check your statements often – to prevent any oversights in fraudulent activity and stay on top of any money leaving your account.
💡 At Suits Me®, we take the reliability, security, and privacy of your account very seriously. Learn more about the security measures we have in place, today.
Keeping your account secure
Often, people don’t realise that they’ve become victims of fraud until multiple suspicious transactions have left their accounts. Stay one step ahead of scammers by staying on top of your account security. Here are some common questions we receive from our account holders about keeping their details safe.
What happens if I don’t recognise a payment?
It happens to the best of us, an unknown payment leaves our account and we’re left racking our brains wondering what it could be for? Here are some common explanations for many unrecognisable payments.
- A company you’ve purchased from using a different trading name,
- A joint account holder has made a purchase,
- Pre-authorisation from a retailer involves a small sum being taken which is later reimbursed.
- A free trial or subscription has left your account,
- A Direct Debit that you’ve set up has been paid from your account.
If something still doesn’t look correct, give us a call immediately and we can run through the next steps and investigate any payments you don’t recognise.
I’ve lost my mobile phone and access to my mobile banking app, what now?
It happens to the best of us, in this case, you should contact your mobile phone provider to have your phone blocked immediately.
In terms of your account details, none of your financial information is stored on your phone and access is protected by your username and password, mPIN, or biometric information. So, your account shouldn’t be at immediate risk, but it’s still vital that you have your mobile phone blocked if you use contactless payments on services such as Google Pay or Apple Pay.
If you are using the same number on your replacement mobile phone all you just need to download the app again and log in. If you get a new number, you need to update your contact details over the phone or through your Suits Me® online banking account.
Can you share your financial information?
No law prevents you from sharing your financial information with another person, however, if you do so willingly, and you’re scammed, it may be harder to reclaim your money from your banking provider if it’s deemed that you’ve been “grossly negligent”, or more simply, not taking proper care of keeping your details private.
If you become the victim of fraud, you must contact your banking provider immediately and explain what’s happened in as much detail as possible. You should also report the crime to Action Fraud, who’ll record it and give you a reference number.
Types of scams used by fraudsters
Here’s a breakdown of some of the typical scams and methods used by fraudsters to get their hands on your money.
Phishing is a type of online scam, which involves criminals sending an email that appears to be from a legitimate company and asking you to supply personal information that goes straight to the scammers.
Protect yourself by:
- Never opening any links within an email,
- Checking the legitimacy by reading the email closely and watching for spelling and grammar errors,
- Checking the email address of the sender with previous emails you’ve received from your provider.
- Deleting the email and reporting it to your email service provider.
Authorised Payment Push (APP)
In this scam, fraudsters will contact you, usually by phone, claiming to be from your banking provider.
The scammers will inform you of fraudulent activity on your account and tell you that you need to move your money to a safe account. Then, they will then give you the details of a fake account and invite you to authorise a payment.
Protect yourself by:
- Looking for grammatical errors,
- Avoid monetary promises that involve little effort,
- Call your financial institution to confirm anything.
Romance fraud involves scammers spending a lot of time getting to know their victims and earning their trust in order to scam them out of their money.
These criminals don’t tend to ask a person for money in the first conversation but instead take their time to form an emotional connection. So, when they eventually ask for the cash, their victim feels like they’re lending money to someone they know and can trust. This is otherwise known as ‘grooming’.
It’s common for scammers to profess their love quickly so their victim relaxes their guard. Scammers will be reluctant to talk about themselves, look perfect on paper, come up with excuses about meeting up and provide a “valid reason” for needing your cash.
Protect yourself by:
- Never sending cash, regardless of how much they beg or whatever excuse – even “proof” can be falsified.
- Talk to your friends and family to see if they spot any red flags that you may have missed,
- Only communicate through the dating site to give you more control over the situation.
From vaccine scams and false COVID cures to phoney websites and people impersonating contact tracers, fraudsters are using the coronavirus pandemic to take advantage of people’s fears.
Protect yourself by:
- Remain vigilant at all times,
- If you’ve received an email surrounding COVID, follow up with the company that has claimed to get in touch with you, if it’s legitimate, they won’t mind you contacting them to follow up.
- Only follow advice from trusted resources and remember that anything that sounds too good to be true, probably is.
Online Shopping Scams
Online shopping is second nature to a lot of us but every time we make a purchase online, we’re imputing our sensitive financial information. Although most websites come with multiple layers of security, some do not which is why we must remain vigilant when browsing the internet.
Protect yourself by:
- Changing your passwords regularly to prevent third parties from accessing your various accounts,
- Don’t shop on public WiFi as your data won’t be encrypted on websites that don’t have “https://” in their URL.
- Don’t click on unsolicited emails. Head directly to the website if you’ve received an offer you want to look at.
- Make sure your software and devices are up to date to make it harder for hackers to get your data.
- Look for company reviews. Not just at the rating, but the number of reviews and whether they look legitimate.
Investment and Pension Scams
These scams involve criminals offering people false investment opportunities that promise a lot of money and guaranteed high returns that may seem too good to be true. They may use false endorsements to try and convince you it’s the real deal and offer to invest your pension or life savings with the promise of easy money.
Protect yourself by:
- Questioning any cold calls promising high returns over a short period of time,
- Be wary of marketing materials that seem genuine, but also too good to be true,
- Conducting your research and understand how the investment works before parting with your money,
- Contact the company on an official phone number to confirm the person you’re speaking to is a representative.
- Speak to a financial advisor before making any decisions,
- Check out the FCA Warning List to see if the company is listed.
A money mule is a person who receives money from a third party into their bank account and then transfers it to another account in exchange for a commission. This might not seem too risky, but the problem is that this money goes towards funding criminal activities around the globe.
If a person is caught being a money mule, they can risk having their financial accounts closed permanently, credit scores ruined, and their financial history shattered. Plus, a lot of the time, people are unwittingly tricked into becoming money mules.
Protect yourself by:
- Thinking twice about strangers contacting you.
- Being wary about anything that involves your account details and never share your information with a stranger,
- Remembering that the promise of easy money, with no strings attached, is unrealistic,
- Block, report and unfollow people contacting you about any schemes or “easy money”.
MLM Schemes (Pyramid Schemes)
Pyramid schemes have been around for decades and are based on an unsustainable business model, where a few “high-level” members recruit newer members, who pay an upfront cost to their enrolee’s. As newer members then begin to recruit people of their own “downline”, a part of the fees they receive are also passed but up the chain to those higher-level members.
These scams used to target older people looking for a new opportunity, however, with the advancement of social media platforms increasingly younger people are falling victim to these scams.
Protect yourself by:
- Being suspicious of uninvited offers and treat them as a red flag – these could be in person, on social media, or even a job advert.
- Research promises of “easy money”,
- Be wary of anything that involves you paying an upfront fee before making any sort of return,
- Check out the seller to see if they’re legitimate,
- There seems to be an emphasis on your recruiting people into your group.
💡 Check out our detailed guide about protecting yourself from pyramid schemes, with an emphasis on the schemes that are frequently circulating on social media.
How do Suits Me® protect our account holders?
At Suits Me®, we take the safety and security of our account holders and their accounts very seriously. Below are some of the security measures and features we have in place to protect our customers.
- We abide by all data laws and protect all of our customer’s data, to both the outside world and within Suits Me®.
- Our website is fully encrypted. We have site-wide HTTPS with an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate on our website, suitsmecard.com, protecting all of our website pages using industry-standard regulations and practices.
- Prepaid debit card PINs are not sent through the post, so there’s no chance that a person can steal and actively use your prepaid debit card before it arrives at your door.
- PINs are retrieved either through the secure mobile app or *IVR (Interactive Voice Response) phone line.
- The Suits Me® mobile app is accessed via a 5-digit mPIN or biometric technology, including One-Time Passwords (OTPs).
- Suits Me® customers are regularly requested to change their online money account password, which minimises the risk of hackers using passwords they may have gained from other accounts.
- Account holders can reset their PIN within their Suits Me® mobile banking app.
- Account holders can manage the level of security on their card within the mobile app, by blocking (freezing) their card and reporting it as lost or stolen by calling 03330 151 858
*IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is a type of technology that’s generated by a computer. It allows computers to communicate with humans using voice and DTMF tones.
Additional information and resources
Here are the main resources and organisations that provide expert advice on how to protect yourself from fraud and scams in the UK.
Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime. This is where you should report it if you’ve been scammed, defrauded, or cheated out of your money.
Helpline: 0300 123 2040
Age UK is dedicated to improving later life and can offer a detailed breakdown of what to do next if you’re worried about your finances.
Helpline: 0880 055 6112
Victim Support is an independent national charity that helps people cope with the effects of crime, including fraud.
Helpline: 0808 16 89 111
FCA (Financial Conduct Authority)
The FCA is an independent UK body that regulates the financial services industry.
Consumer Helpline: 0800 111 6768
Snopes is the internet’s go-to source for discerning what is true and what is total nonsense. This is an American website, but still provides lots of up-to-date, fact-checked information on new scams.