In 2015, £755 million was lost to financial fraud, but we can all help to lower this figure by remembering one simple action – to stop and think.

That’s why the Take Five campaign – led by Financial Fraud Action UK - is encouraging the nation to do just that; to take time to stop, step back and think before they act.

Business Advice

If you receive a phone call, text or email asking you to hand over personal or financial information, you need to take a moment to reflect and step back from the situation. Yes, even if they say they’re the bank, police or another trusted organisation, you still need to take the time to stop and think about what’s really going on.

Deep down, you probably already know the basic rules on how to beat financial fraud – you just need to take a deep breath and stay calm to remember them...

Banks and other trusted organisations will never ask you for these in an email, on the phone, by text or in writing.
Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Be mindful of who you trust – fraudsters may try to trick you and gain your confidence by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud. Fraudsters often use this tactic to draw you into the conversation, to scare you into acting and revealing security details.
Under no circumstances would a bank or other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot; they would never ask you to transfer money into another account for fraud reasons.
If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Fraudsters may lull you into a false sense of security when you are out and about or rely on your defences being down when you’re in the comfort of your own home. They may appear trustworthy, but they may not be who they claim to be.
Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. It’s easy to feel embarrassed when faced with unexpected or complex conversations. But it’s okay to stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it.

Invoice Scams

It’s not hard for fraudsters to find out business invoice details (even down to payment dates) and then pose as regular suppliers. If a supplier contacts you to make a request for their bank account details to be changed, always check it with the supplier using their on-file details. It’s important that everyone in your business is aware of the dangers of invoice fraud, and that they know to always check invoices to identify potentially fraudulent transactions.

CEO Spoofing

If you receive an email from your CEO or another senior member of staff asking you to make an urgent payment outside of normal procedures, don’t automatically follow their lead. It’s become very easy for fraudsters to manipulate the characteristics of an email, including the sender address, so that it looks genuine. But when you transfer the money, it goes straight to an account controlled by a fraudster. Keep an eye out for any emails that might be written in a different style to usual, and always check any unusual payment requests directly, ideally in person or by telephone, to confirm the instruction is genuine.

The campaign is aimed at everyone, even you as a consumer, so take a look at the Take Five website www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/ for more information on financial fraud and tips on how remembering to Take Five can help prevent it.

What to do if you think youre a victim

If you think there has been fraud on your card or bank account – or if you suspect someone has attempted to compromise your financial details – report it immediately to your bank or other financial services provider and then contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk.

Take Five is a national campaign that offers straightforward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud. This includes email deception and phone-based scams as well as online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations. Led by Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), it is being delivered with and through a range of partners in the UK payments industry, financial services firms, law enforcement agencies, telecommunication providers, commercial, public and third sector. Visit: takefive-stopfraud.org.uk for more information about Take Five and which partners are involved.