Types of fraud

Fraud can happen where you least expect it

Fraud is ever-changing and you can be tricked into giving away your personal information, or even your money, online in a number of ways. Here's how to stay safe whether you're gaming or dating.

Identity theft


This is where fraudsters access enough information about a person to commit identity fraud. They can use information like name, date of birth, current or previous addresses for criminal purposes.

Identity details can be used to:

  • Open bank accounts.
  • Take out credit, loans or phone contracts.
  • Order goods and services.
  • Take over existing contracts or subscriptions.

What to do

Don’t ignore it. Act quickly. If you think you’ve been a victim of identity fraud report it to the relevant organisations. If you’re not sure which organisation to call, contact Action Fraud for advice.

Cryptocurrency fraud


With increased investor activity in cryptocurrencies, comes more opportunity for you to be tricked into parting with your money and personal information.

Fraudsters take advantage of the perceived promise that cryptocurrencies can lead to great wealth and so will advertise ‘get rich quick’ investments. They do this either through cold calling or false ads on social media, promising high returns once you’ve signed up. To take out the fake investment you are asked personal information and then asked to make a deposit. This is often followed up by a call to encourage you to “invest” more for a better return.

Our aim is to always protect our customers and make sure we’re doing all we can to combat financial crime and reduce the risk to your money.

With this in mind we’ve introduced changes that will limit the amount you can pay to a cryptocurrency exchange from your Handelsbanken account to a maximum of £1,000 per payment. The exchange must also be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Cryptocurrency investment can be complex. You can find a wealth of knowledge at CryptoUK Opens in a new window to help with your research, so you can invest in, and engage with the world, of cryptocurrencies with confidence.

Some helpful tips

By following some basic guidance you can help protect yourself

  • If you’re interested in cryptocurrencies, do your research and get some independent advice. A lack of understanding can lead to you losing money.
  • Take a moment to think. If an offer looks too good to be true, the chances are it is.
  • Be wary of anything that promises “guaranteed returns”. Genuine providers aren’t able to talk in these terms and always have to warn that there’s a risk to any investment.
  • Any advertisement can be made to look professional to convince you it’s from a genuine source, don’t assume it is real. 
  • Make sure the website you’re using has all the usual security signs: a padlock in the address bar and an ‘s’ in https.
  • Be wary of celebrity endorsements, they aren’t always real.
  • As with all fraud, you should never feel pressured into making a decision about investing your money. 

You can find more about protecting yourself if you decide on any form of investment by clicking the link below.

Online dating fraud


Sometimes known as romance scams fraudsters will create fake profiles on dating sites and apps or anywhere where they can strike up a relationship. After building some trust they will ask for money.

Signs to look out for

  • They claim to have strong feelings at an early stage.
  • They will often say they live overseas.
  • They are evasive about meeting up in person or virtually.
  • The ‘sob story’. They may tell a story about needing money for an emergency; a family member who is ill, they’ve been a victim of theft or they are stranded or in debt. 

What to do

Never transfer any money to an online love interest that you’ve never met. Ask your trusted friend’s or family’s opinion about a new online relationship. If you’re concerned contact the relevant organisation.

SIM swapping


Often called simjacking or simsplitting, this relatively new form of fraud is used to access bank accounts. 

This is where fraudsters clone a mobile number and assign a new Sim card to it, giving them access to online bank accounts, messages and calls. 

Suddenly not being able to make calls, send texts, access accounts or receiving a notification that your Sim has been activated elsewhere, are all signs to look out for. 

What to do

Call your provider if you receive notifications that your Sim has been ported or for a PAC request. Use two factor authentication when resetting passwords, rather than using a mobile number.

Gaming-related scams


Fraudsters can trick gamers into disclosing personal information either through email or in-game chats or can get them to download software which is really malware. Criminals will target players, spend time gaining their trust through game play and then dupe them into giving away what may seem inconsequential personal information. They can then use this information to empty bank accounts, make purchases or commit identity fraud. 

Protecting yourself

  • Always be cautious of approaches made by strangers.
  • Never reveal any information about yourself in the gaming environment, even when it seems unimportant.
  • Make gaming related purchases securely.
  • Don’t associate bank details with a gaming account.

What to do

Report any fraudulent activity to your gaming provider and notify your bank immediately if you think you have been a victim of fraud.

Additional support

Knowing how fraudsters work is one of the best ways to protect yourself. You'll find organisations here who are dedicated to fighting fraud and podcasts from our very own fraud experts, to help to stay one step ahead of scams.