Are you spending safely online?

IN the current climate we’re shopping online more than ever, but are we staying safe?

Fraud is on the rise in the UK as scammers are seeking to take advantage of the pandemic.

 Our tips and tricks will help you stay safe from online scammers


Our tips and tricks will help you stay safe from online scammers

With vaccine, Covid-19 and HMRC scams popping up regularly, as well as more traditional types of internet fraud, it’s important to know what to look out for.

In this month’s edition of our Card Smart series, in association with Barclaycard, we’re helping you keep your cash safe from scammers.

Plus, for more personalized tips, try the Barclaycard Fraud Fighter tool and stay one step ahead of the scammers.

How can I stay safe from vaccine and Covid-19 scams?

Scammers are targeting vulnerable people by offering them rapid Covid-19 tests or vaccines for a fee.

These scammers are tricking people into handing over their money, or personal details like credit card or online banking details.

It’s really important to remember…

  • The NHS will never contact you to ask for your banking information
  • The NHS will not charge you for a vaccine or a Covid-19 test

If you receive a suspicious email or text message, do not click on any links or download any attachments. You should instead delete the message straight away.

 Scammers are targeting vulnerable people offering fake Covid vaccines


Scammers are targeting vulnerable people offering fake Covid vaccines

How can I spot an HMRC scam?

There are several HMRC phishing scams targeting people at the moment offering refunds in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Customers are receiving text messages telling them they are due a refund due to the current lockdown, or other events related to Covid-19.

If you see a text like this then do no not open any links in the message.

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Customers are also reporting an automated phone call scam which tells you HMRC is filing a lawsuit against you and advises you to press 1 to make a payment. HMRC have confirmed that this is a scam and that you should end this call immediately.

HMRC have confirmed that they would not contact you asking for financial information in exchange for a refund.

If you have received a suspicious text, call or email claiming to be from HMRC then you should email A full list of examples can be found on the official government website*.

*This link contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.

Hang up on scams

Scam phone calls or ‘vishing’ has been a really common scam during the covid-19 pandemic, and one to watch out for.

This telephone scam will often use scare tactics to try to trick people into giving up their information. The goal of vishing is simple: steal your money, your identity, or both.

Scammers will often pretend to be from a reputable company such as your bank. They may tell you that there is a problem with your account or with a payment. They might also ask you to transfer money to a different account or request your credit card details to correct the problem.


Don’t hesitate to hang up straight away. It’s better to be safe and call the company directly (check the back of your debit or credit card for the official number to call) to be absolutely certain you’re speaking to the real deal. Remember to never divulge personal banking information over the phone.

How can I keep my card details safe online?

There are plenty of ways to keep your card and account details safe online, and these are just some of the things you can do…

  • Is your browser secure? Make sure you’re downloading the updates regularly in order to keep it as secure as possible.
  • Install a firewall and antivirus software to protect yourself.
  • Sharing a computer? Or using a public computer? Make sure you clear the cache manually after using the browser so that you aren’t storing your personal information for others to access.
  • Stop and think! Before you click on a link or download an attachment, take a moment to stop and consider whether it is legitimate.
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For more hints and tips for keeping your details safe click here.

 There are many ways to keep your card details safe from online scammers


There are many ways to keep your card details safe from online scammers

How do I spot a phishing scam?

Phishing is social engineering attack often used to try steal personal data, including login credentials, banking details or credit card numbers. Scammers may try trick their victims through email, social media or text, but how can you spot it?

Your genuine bank will never send you an email containing a link taking you straight to the log-in section of their website for online banking, and they’ll also never ask you to do any of the following things:

  • Verify your account information
  • Provide your card details or PIN number
  • Provide your password or online banking credentials

If you look closely, you should be able to identify a phishing email.

  • They will often use urgency to try pressure you into clicking an email link to resolve an issue such as an issue with a transaction or suspected ‘fraud’ on your account
  • The email may be offering a chance for easy money – if it seems to good to be true, it usually is
  • Check the email address: They’re often sent from addresses that are completely unrelated to the company they say they are from.
  • Check the spelling and grammar: Phishing emails often contain many errors, even in the company name.
  • Check how they identify you: If they don’t include your name, or misspell it then this could mean it’s a phishing email. Your bank may include the last four digits of your account number in an email to prove it’s really them getting in touch – you should check for information like this.
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Peace of mind when shopping online

How can a credit card help protect my purchases if something goes wrong?

When you use a credit card to make purchases, you’ll get the added protection of Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.*

So if you make a purchase between £100-£30,000 and your goods are proven to be faulty, not delivered, you were given misleading information or the supplier breaches their contract with you, you could be entitled to compensation or a refund.

*Section 75 is standard on all UK credit cards and applies in certain circumstances. T&C’s apply.

What should I do if I think I have been a victim of fraud?

If you notice something suspicious or you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, then you should act fast.

You’ll need to contact your bank’s fraud team straight away and they’ll be able to help you, but before you do…

  • Double check with any additional cardholders to see if they made a purchase on your account.
  • Double check your recent receipts and purchases.
  • Double check any agreements you have with companies for recurring charges.

Once you’ve done this, give your bank or credit card provider a call and they will be able to help you and also block or cancel your card.

To find out more, visit the Barclaycard Spend Safe Hub.




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