‘Does this seem legit?’ is the theme of Take Five Week 2023 (17 - 21 April), and we’re proud to take part. The campaign encourages you to question requests for money or personal information, asking you to stop, challenge and protect - to avoid losing out to criminals.

Take Five is a national campaign led by UK Finance, offering practical advice on fraud prevention. Starling is a member. Here are some scams to watch out for:

Safe account scams

Imagine this scenario: you’ve had a long, stressful day, when the phone rings. It’s someone who claims to be your bank, telling you that hackers are trying to access your account and if you don’t act immediately, you’re going to lose everything. To protect your money, you’re told to move funds to a new account that’s been set up for you, or to approve payments in your app. Stop! Does this seem legit?

To trick you, the fraudster may spoof the bank's phone number, making a call/text look like it’s coming from a legitimate organisation - the call/text ID may even show as the name of the ‘bank’.

The fraudster may also volunteer information about your account to convince you of who they are - using your stolen details.

It’s important to remember that a bank would never ask you to move money or approve a card payment to keep your money safe. If you receive a call like this, hang up and call 159 - this will put you through to your bank, who’ll verify any contact received.

Your bank or the police will never ask you to transfer money to a ‘safe account’.

At Starling, we would contact you via the app beforehand, so you know it’s us.

Read our blog post on impersonation scams for more information.


Consider the following messages: “Your account will be locked if you do not verify your information - use the following link to confirm your login details”. Or “Did you attempt to spend £345 at Big Electronics Outlet? If not, call us on 01111 567890”

Smishing is when a criminal sends a text, often impersonating a genuine company, with the intention of stealing personal, financial or security information. Messages can even contain harmful links that could download malware onto your device.

Check online any phone number you’re asked to call, to make sure it genuinely belongs to the company you’re expecting

Phishing is the same, but with email. Once the information is obtained, fraudsters will be able to scam you, access your bank accounts or even apply for credit or benefits in your name.

Always challenge any requests to click any links or call any phone numbers

  • Check where emails are sent from - help@starllngbank.com looks pretty legit doesn’t it? Note that the ‘i’ in ‘Starling’ has been replaced with a lowercase ‘l’
  • Phone numbers can be spoofed and fraudulent texts can fall into a genuine chain of messages, so don’t be fooled into thinking this makes a message legitimate or safe
  • If you’re sent a link to log in to an account, don’t click it. Type the website into your browser or search on Google to ensure you’re on the real website
  • Check any phone number you’re asked to call online, to make sure it genuinely belongs to the company you’re expecting
  • Install your device software updates to ensure you have the latest security

Find out more on how to spot a suspicious email.

Investment scams

Ever thought about trying to make a bit of extra money by investing? If so, you might have noticed that there are lots of ‘opportunities’ advertised on social media.

“I doubled my money in 24 hours, DM me to find out how”

Adverts like these are usually accompanied by reviews from other investors, telling you how happy they are with the returns they received.

Scammers use social media to trick people into ‘investing’ their money into schemes that don’t really exist and may even impersonate real investment companies to make the opportunity look genuine. They may create fake websites. Sometimes they’ll ask you to send money into legitimate investment platforms or to money transfer services before they steal it from you.

Here are things you can do to make sure you’re investing with a real company:

  • Don’t trust anyone who approaches you on social media offering to invest your money for you. Genuine companies don’t do this
  • Always make sure you check that a financial advisor or an investment company is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It’s the best way to determine if a company/advisor is genuine and regulated. You can also use the contact details listed for genuine companies
  • Use the FCA’s Scam Smart page to check if an investment you’ve found could be a scam

More information can be found in our investment scam blog.

Purchase scams

Looking for a bargain? Social media and online marketplaces might be your go to, but are you taking steps to check that you’re going to receive what you’ve paid for?

“AirPods on sale - £70 - DM me”

Criminals will often advertise electronics, designer clothing or tickets to events at a heavily discounted price - when in fact the goods don’t really exist. They’ll pressure you to make a payment quickly to secure the items and tell you to make a payment by bank transfer. These are warning signs that you may be about to be scammed. Always avoid paying by bank transfer.

If an offer seems to good to be true, it usually is

We recommend that you see an item in person (or on a video call so you know the seller physically has the item) to ensure it exists and is in the expected condition.

Use a secure payment platform or pay by card - you’ll have more protection if things do go wrong. Lastly, if a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is!

Our online shopping scams blog contains more handy advice and you can visit Take Five’s website for information on the latest scams.

Subscribeto blog updatesarrow-right

Related stories

Latest posts