My bank says I need to move my money into a 'safe account' – should I?

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Someone’s contacted you claiming to be from your bank. They’ve said there’s a serious security issue with your account. So to protect your money, you need to move it all to a ‘safe account’ by making a bank transfer immediately.

They give you the account details and tell you you need to act urgently, or risk losing all your money.

So, what do you do?

Someone's trying to scam you

In short, don’t do it! This is an increasingly common kind of scam where someone tricks you into sending them money from your account.

It’s often known as authorised push payment fraud (APP fraud), and is the fastest growing type of fraud in the UK. More than 35,000 people lost a total of £145 million to it in the first half of 2018.

It's a type of fraud called authorised push payment fraud

Fraudsters usually contact you on the phone, email or through social media pretending to be someone you trust – like your bank, a contractor, an estate agent or the police. They’ll invent a complex and convincing story, and pressure you to bank transfer large sums of money into another account.

But although they can be convincing, these stories are totally made up. And the fraudsters rely on scaring you into doing what they say.

Sending a bank transfer makes it almost impossible to get your money back

The biggest problem is that making bank transfer is a lot like paying in cash. So if you’ve been scammed into making a bank transfer, getting your money back can be very difficult.

A bank transfer moves the money instantly, so it’s almost impossible to cancel. And the fraudster can quickly move the stolen money elsewhere, before you realise anything’s gone wrong.

How to protect yourself from fraud

Here are some important tips to help you avoid falling victim to a scam like this:

Question who you’re talking to. Remember that fraudsters may know basic details about you, and can fake phone numbers, names and email addresses.

If someone claiming to be from your bank contacts you out of the blue, hang up the phone and get in touch with them directly using known contact details (you can usually find a bank's contact details on the back of your debit/credit card).

Take your time. Fraudsters will often try to scare you into sending money or revealing details, by saying that your account is under threat or they'll involve the police if you don't comply.

An organisation you trust will never try to panic you, stop you from talking to friends or family, or force you into making a bank transfer on the spot.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Fraudsters will attempt to lure you into buying non-existent or counterfeit products by selling them on platforms like Facebook Marketplace, and Gumtree for a significantly reduced price.

Have the confidence to say no. Listen to your gut instincts and leave the conversation if something feels off.

A trustworthy person shouldn’t make you feel embarrassed or guilty. If you have any doubts at all, it's always better to double check than go along with it. Because once your money’s gone, it's often incredibly difficult to get it back.

Remember that your bank or the police will never:

  • Call to ask you for your PIN or full banking password

  • Ask you to withdraw or transfer money for safekeeping

  • Send someone to your home to collect cash, a PIN number, cards or cheque books

  • Ask you to buy something on your card and hand it over for safekeeping

If you use Monzo, we’ll also never:

  • Call you without arranging it through in-app chat first

  • Ask you to share any sensitive information about yourself or your account, like your PIN

  • Ask you to move your money out of Monzo and into a different account

Find out more about what we do to protect you from fraud.