Financial Fraud and Scams

We take every step possible to keep your finances and personal details safe. However, you play an important role too. Together we can make life really difficult for would-be criminals. 

There are thousands of financial scams that target businesses. By understanding some of these scams, you can protect yourself and your business. We’ve explained the most common ones below:

Remote Access Scam

The Banking Industry has seen an increase in customers and businesses receiving cold calls from companies claiming to be from a large telecommunication or computer company, or, for businesses in particular, an internal/external IT department.

The caller may offer:

  • to fix, upgrade or protect your computer from running slowly;
  • upgrades in service for internet connections, devices or phone lines; or
  •  assistance for refunds of overpayments.

The caller asks you to log on to your internet banking and then they attempt to remotely access your computer so they can ‘assist with the issue’. However, this allows them to release malicious software and gain access to your personal data.

Fraudsters may also ask for banking, card, security or other personal details in order to get access to your internet banking. 

Protect yourself

  • Never give control of a computer to a third party who calls out of the blue.
  • Never disclose personal or security details such as PINs, passwords or Security Numbers, or allow anyone to collect your bank card.
  • Never rely on caller ID alone to authenticate a caller – criminals can spoof caller ID numbers, so the number displayed can’t be relied on to validate where the call is coming from. 
  • Never follow a telephone instruction asking to press keys on the keyboard or run any programmes from a cold caller.  
  • Never give a card or any financial information to someone who calls unexpectedly and tells you a refund is due.
  • Never transfer money based on an instruction from a cold caller, even if they say it’s for a return of an overpayment.
  • Never log on to your internet banking while a third party is connected – even if you think the caller is genuine and they ask you to make a payment for their service.
  • Download the free online security software, Trusteer Rapport – it can help identify and remove malicious software, offering you protection when using Online Banking. It can be used alongside any standard anti-virus product. 

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud or a scam, are concerned you may have allowed access to your computer, or have potentially downloaded malware, call us immediately on:

  • Commercial: 0800 085 2090
  • Corporate: 0161 953 3237

For more information about common frauds and scams, visit our website at


Cheque Overpayment Scam

A cheque overpayment scam happens when a fraudster pays a business for goods or services using a fraudulent cheque, which is made for a higher amount than the actual value.

How it usually happens

1) A new ‘customer’ contacts a business to order goods or services.

2) Once the ‘customer’ has made the payment, they phone or email to reduce or cancel the order, or to advise that they’ve made an error, e.g. that shipping fees were accidentally included in the payment, and requests an urgent refund. Your own payments team may also identify the overpayment and think it was just a simple typo, e.g. £16000 instead of £1600, and proactively offer to return the difference.

3) The business is keen to maintain the relationship with this new ‘customer’ and processes the refund quickly, using a more immediate electronic payment service such as a Faster Payment.

4) In due course, the original cheque is returned unpaid because it’s fraudulent and the business is left with a financial loss because it refunded the amount ‘overpaid’.

Protect yourself

  • Never accept a cheque for a higher value than you were expecting.
  • Never feel pressured into making a refund or payment. 
  • If accepting payment by cheque, treat the payment with caution and don’t provide the service or goods, or refund the payment, until you are certain the cheque has cleared and credited your account.  
  • We strongly recommend you use a dual authorisation process for all payments. This provides independent verification as at least two people can review the details.
  • Call our Fraud Team immediately if you think you’ve been a victim of a scam, or even an attempted scam.

Telephone number spoofing happens when a caller deliberately falsifies how their phone number appears on the Caller ID to disguise their identity. Fraudsters are increasingly targeting businesses over the phone by posing as bank staff, police officers and other officials or companies in a position of trust. The fraudster tries to persuade the victim that their accounts are at risk and that they must move their money to a new account, which normally belongs to the fraudster.

Warning signs

If the victim questions giving out personal details or moving their money, the fraudster tells them to check the Caller ID of the phone number they’re calling from, which they have masked, or ‘spoofed’ to look like your bank’s phone number.

Never discose your security details 

Sensitive information such as your bank card details and bank security information (PINs and passwords) shouldn’t be shared with anyone – not even your bank. We’ll only ever ask you for part of the details, such as the first and fifth letters of your password.


Santander or the police will never ask you to give your full security details over the phone or by text message, nor to surrender your bank card. And we’ll never tell you to move your money to different accounts for security reasons.  

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud or a scam, or you’re worried you may have given out any of your security details, call us immediately on:

  • Commercial: 0800 085 2090
  • Corporate: 0161 953 3237
Phishing emails

How this usually happens:

1) Fraudsters send you phishing emails by hacking into to your contacts’ email accounts, or by changing their email address slightly so you don’t notice, or more commonly; you may get a generic spam email.

2) They use these emails to ask for your personal data, or they direct you to websites or phone numbers to call where they then ask you for your personal data.

3) Once they’ve captured your bank details and identity, criminals can then record and use this information to commit fraud crimes such as identity theft and bank fraud.


  • You should never reply to a message from an unknown source.
  • Don't click on any embedded links either – phishing emails are sent to a vast number of randomly generated addresses and clicking on these links can verify your active email address for further malicious emails.
  • Even ‘unsubscribe’ links can be malicious – make sure the email is from a trusted source and you are, in fact, subscribed to the service.
  • Santander will never send you an email, text or a website link asking you to enter your Santander Connect or card details, or to carry out a test payment.
  • Pop-up messages asking for your online banking details are likely to be scams – we’ll never ask you to enter your information in a pop-up.

If you've received a suspicious email that claims to be from us, please forward it to and then delete the email.

Here are some safety tips from FFA UK about phishing emails

  • Remember that banks will never contact you by email to ask for passwords or any other sensitive information by asking you to click on a link and visit a website.
  • The email address that appears in the 'from' field of an email is no guarantee that the email came from the person or organisation that it claims to have originated from.
  • Fraudsters are unlikely to know your real name, so the email may address you in vague terms, for example ‘Dear Valued Customer’.
  • Phishing emails will probably contain odd ‘spe11ings’ or ‘cApitALs' in the subject box as well as spelling or grammatical errors – this is an attempt to get around spam filters and into your inbox.
Vishing calls

Voice phishing or ‘vishing’ is where a fraudster calls you to gain access to private, personal and financial information so they can steal your money or details.

For example, the fraudster may call and say they’re from a telephone provider, bank or utility company and offer you a refund. They may ‘over refund’ you or ask for your security numbers. They may even ask you to forward on the over payment directly to them. The purpose of their call is to gain access to your details.


  • You should never give out your PINs, passwords or security numbers – these are personal to you and shouldn’t be shared with anyone, not even your bank.
  • Santander or the police will never ask you for your security details in full, or for you to surrender your card or withdraw cash.
Invoice fraud

Invoice fraud happens when fraudsters send a fake invoice, or bill, asking you to pay for goods or services that you haven’t used. Usually, they’ll try the following:

  • the fraudster takes on the identity of one of your suppliers, business contacts or even a colleague, often by hacking their email system, or by sending you a request by fax or post that seems genuine
  • they trick you into changing the bank account details for an outstanding/future payment or a senior colleague may ask you to make a new payment
  • the message will usually urge you to pay straightaway to avoid further charges or consequences.
  • your money is then paid to the fraudster's bank account.

You'll only know it was fraud when the genuine company sending the invoices chases the payment. By this time, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to recover your money from the fraudster.

How to spot invoice fraud

The main thing you should look out for, is unusual grammar and spelling mistakes, or requests to change your usual payment details.

If the invoice comes in the post on headed paper, look out for minor discrepancies, such as a change in font or a change in the usual payment details.

Your contacts email address may be altered very slightly to give the impression that it’s correct, but it is in fact fraudulent. Alternatively, you might receive an email directly from someone you’ve dealt with before, but their email account may have been hacked or spoofed.

What you can do to protect yourself

  • Always confirm any requests to make a new payment or change bank account details directly with the company or colleague making the change. Avoid replying to the email or using the contact details in the letters.​
  • Set up a single point of contact for companies you make regular payments to.
  • Review changes of account details that have already gone through where the payment is due at a future date and confirm that the request is genuine.
  • Consider extra checks for payments over a certain amount.
  • Corporate customers should review their payment approval processes – as mentioned, you can use dual authorisation for an extra layer of security as all payments go through at least two people.
  • Call our Fraud Team immediately if you think you’ve been a victim of a scam, or even an attempted victim – we’ll be able to set up a case and attempt to recover funds from the recipient bank on your behalf.
Telephone scams

This is what can happen:

1) You get a call from someone claiming to be from your bank, the police or another recognised financial service.

2) They tell you that your account is at risk, that your card has been used to buy goods, or that you’ve been over debited

3) You’re told to transfer your money to a new safe account, withdraw the cash at a branch, type your PIN into the keypad, or buy high value goods. They may tell you that it is undercover police work and to lie to the branch staff, or hand over your cash or cards to a courier.


  • You should never give out your PINs, passwords or security numbers – these are personal to you and shouldn’t be shared with anyone, not even your bank.
  • Santander or the police will never ask you for your security details in full, or for you to surrender your card or withdraw cash.
Tech Support scams

How is usually happens:

1) A cold caller contacts you claiming to be from a ‘Tech Support’ company and says that your device is running slow. They might even guess what computer software you’re using.

2) They may ask you to go to your computer and perform a series of complex tasks – sometimes, they target legitimate computer files and claim that they are viruses. Their tactics are designed to scare you into believing they can help fix your ‘problem.’

3) They try to gain your trust by pretending to be associated with well-known companies or confusing you with a barrage of technical terms.

4) Once they’ve gained your trust, they may:

  • Ask you to give them remote access to your computer and make changes to your settings, leaving your computer vulnerable;
  • Try to enrol you in a worthless computer maintenance or warranty program;
  • Ask for account or card details so they can bill you for phony services, or services you could get elsewhere for free;
  • Trick you into installing malware that could steal sensitive data, like user names and passwords;
  • Direct you to websites and ask you to enter your banking or card details and other personal information.

Regardless of the tactics they use, they have one purpose: to make money.

Protect yourself

Here are some simple rules to follow:

  • Never give control of your computer to a third party who calls you out of the blue.
  • Never follow a telephone instruction asking you to press keys on your keyboard, or run any programmes from a cold caller.
  • Never disclose your security details such as your PIN, passwords or security numbers. These are personal to you and shouldn’t be shared with anyone, not even us.
  • Never rely on caller ID alone to authenticate a caller as criminals can spoof caller ID numbers. They may appear to be calling from a legitimate company or a local number, when they’re not even in the same country as you.
  • Never give your card, personal or financial information to someone who calls and claims to be from a Tech Support company or any other company that advises you are due a refund.
  • Never Log on to Santander Connect after a caller tells you too. If they have gained access, they can see what you see, including your account information and your security passwords.


  • If you get a cold call from someone who claims to be a Tech Support Company, hang up.
  • A caller who creates a sense of urgency or uses high-pressure tactics is probably a scam artist.
  • If you think you might have downloaded malware from a scam site or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, call our Santander Connect Helpdesk on 0800 068 6059 .
Know your staff

Even though the majority of employees are reliable, trustworthy and honest, internal controls are still needed to stop any risk of fraud within your company.

The risks

Sadly everyone is at risk of staff fraud. This can be anything from stealing stationery and abusing the company credit card, to falsifying invoices and misrepresenting cheques. Your staff may even be offering a different service to their friends and family without authority, or even collecting your confidential data such as client lists, processes and passwords.

Whatever the fraud, you should make sure your business has clear and effective controls to safeguard company assets, including customer data.

Key things to look out for

These can be signs of fraudulent activity:

  • A new member of staff who resigns shortly after joining.
  • Reluctance by an employee to take their holiday entitlement.
  • A member of staff having financial difficulties.
  • Complaints about missing documents.
  • Unusual changes in an employee’s behaviour or actions.
  • A sudden change in an employee’s lifestyle, such as unexplained wealth or a standard of living beyond their apparent means.
  • A very close relationship with suppliers or contractors.
  • Suppliers or contractors who insist on dealing with the same individual.

You can get some useful information by visiting:

Call us

If you think you may have been a victim of fraud or a scam, report it to us immediately on contact us and Action Fraud, either by calling 0300 123 2040 or online at

How to protect yourself against scams

We want to help keep you protected. This leaflet explains some common scams to look out for and gives you tips for staying safe.

Contact us about fraud

If you think your Santander accounts have been compromised, or you may have given out your security details, please call us immediately on:

0800 085 2090

Useful links

The websites below provide a wealth of information and support to help you protect your business from fraud.

Santander Security
Action Fraud
Get Safe Online
Financial Fraud Action UK
Financial Conduct Authority