Knowing the common risks to yourself

Social engineering

Fraudsters manipulate victims into providing confidential information or other actions that compromise their security. Phishing involves emails which seem legitimate, but direct you to bogus websites that capture your personal information. Vishing and smishing are similar techniques where contact is made, respectively, by phone or text.

How to stay safe

  • Remember that reputable organisations will never ask you for PINs, passcodes, account information, or for access to your devices
  • Don’t click on links or open email attachments, even if they seem to be from a known sender like your bank or a government body. Verify that they are genuine first
  • If you get a call you are not sure about, hang up and call back on a publicly available number or one you know you can trust
  • Ignore any request to transfer money to a ‘safe account’, as no genuine bank would ask you to do this.

Invoice scam

Fraudsters can pretend to be someone you legitimately owe money to, such as a school, solicitor, holiday company or builder/decorator. They send an invoice or bill either requesting payment or asking you to change the details of the account you pay into.

How to stay safe from invoice scams

  • If you receive an invoice asking for an unusual payment or requesting a change in payment or contact details, check with the apparent sender before you do anything else. Use a phone number or email address you know you can trust, like a publicly-available number or the online contact us email address
  • Check invoices and bills for irregularities, especially in the language, bank account details or company logos
  • Don’t action requests to amend payment instructions until you have verified that they are genuine
  • Regularly review and check payments to make sure they are being received by the company
  • Shred confidential information like bills and bank statements
  • Keep a close eye on statements and report anything suspicious immediately.

Cyber fraud and public WiFi

Cyber fraud involves malicious software, known as malware, that can infiltrate your computer system, smartphone or tablet, to access your logins and personal information. It might be sent in a link or hidden in software that seems genuine, or infiltrate your systems without you even knowing. Using public Wi-Fi can make it easier for fraudsters to gain access to your devices or access your information, because the network is less secure.

How to stay safe from cyber fraud

  • Keep your firewall and security software updated, setting auto-updates where possible
  • Never click on links or attachments until you are completely sure they are legitimate
  • Don’t bank, shop or enter confidential information using unsecured or public Wi-Fi, unless you are on a network you know is secure, and always log out of any accounts you have accessed
  • Back up sensitive information and files on external devices not connected to your network or the internet
  • Create strong passwords for home Wi-Fi, devices and accounts, update them regularly and don’t allow your web browser to remember them
  • Consider setting up two factor authentication (2FA) also known as multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an additional layer to your account security. Doing this makes it harder for criminals to access your online accounts, even if they know your password
  • Check with your official authority on cyber security for the latest threats, for instance the National Cyber Security Centre in the UK at www.ncsc.gov.uk or the Agence Monégasque de Sécurité Numérique in Monaco at amsn.gouv.mc

Card and cheque fraud

Card fraud can happen when debit or credit cards are lost or stolen, or copied when using payment devices or ATMs that have been tampered with. It may also happen when fraudsters have access to your information and open or access bank accounts in your name. Cheque fraud happens when someone steals or copies a cheque, often to buy high-value goods.

How to stay safe from card and cheque fraud

  • Check your accounts regularly, and report any suspicious transactions immediately
  • When using an ATM, check for signs of tampering, shield your PIN and keep your card in sight when making payments
  • Only carry cards or chequebooks if you need them and tell us right away if they have been lost or stolen
  • If you’re selling a high value item - a car, for example - to someone you don’t know, ask for a cash or electronic payment rather than a cheque. 

Investment or boiler room scams

Fraudsters can pose as sales people, offering cheap investments such as shares, gold, carbon credits or vineyards. They often use hard-selling tactics to persuade you, suggesting the offer is time-limited. Scammers may praise your understanding of risk and say you’ve been selected for an ‘exclusive’ chance. The high-pressure nature of this tactic is why they’re often referred to as ‘boiler room’ scams.

The shares they’re pushing may be extremely hard to sell without losing money, or may be a small unquoted company that, the fraudster claims, is planning to list. In some cases, the company may not exist or the share certificates are fake.

How to stay safe from investment scams

  • Any so-called ‘investment opportunity’ you receive out of the blue is likely to be very risky or a scam
  • If you’re considering an investment, do plenty of research including consulting with your local financial regulator for trustworthy or suspicious firms before you invest
  • The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) warning list details firms and individuals known to be operating without its authorisation, so you can check if some sales people are genuine or not
  • In Monaco, CCAF publishes accredited entities and funds at http://www.ccaf.mc/en/the-ccaf-in-one-click/fund-entity-and-approved
  • The Dubai Financial Services Authority issues alerts, listed on its website: https://www.dfsa.ae/en/Your-Resources/DFSA-Alerts

What to do if you suspect fraud

If you suspect there has any type of fraud on your account, it’s important you speak to us immediately. View the contact details of your local office