How we can all protect ourselves against fraud

Lady holding mobile phone

You may have noticed more unexpected emails and texts over the last year. Perhaps asking you to confirm payment details for an item you haven’t ordered, or suspicious requests from a delivery service to pay an unpaid fee.

In fact, according to research, the number of fraud cases increased by 22 per cent in 2020 to almost 150,0001, with Visa’s latest research highlighting that younger generations are most at risk of falling victim.2

Yet people don’t seem to report it when it happens to them, with an estimated two in three3 fraud attempts going unreported every single day. This may be due to the emotional impact, with one in four victims said they felt ashamed (22% surveyed), embarrassed (26% surveyed) or upset (24% surveyed) after they were defrauded.

But data from Action Fraud suggests reporting makes a big impact when it comes to preventing others from being caught out, with the rise in reports last year leading to 2,000 fake websites, phonelines and accounts being shut down.4

That’s why we’re taking action to encourage everyone to report fraud attempts and have more conversations about it, to remove the stigma and reduce the risk to ourselves and our loved ones.

Three of the most common scams:

Text message phishing

Email phishing

Social media phishing

Icon for text message phishing
Icon for email phishing
Icon for social media phishing
A text message sent to your number claiming to be a bank or delivery service encouraging you to click a link to extract key personal details. An email from a well-known company with the aim of making you part with your personal details or money. Social media phishing involves a fraudster creating fake accounts and pages in an attempt to trick users into sharing personal information.

Here are six things you can do to keep yourself safe:

  1. Review before you click - If you’re not sure whether an email you receive is genuine, or if you spot that it includes random characters, spelling mistakes or doesn’t match the company’s branding, don’t click on any links or download files.
  2. Check who you’re speaking to and take control – If someone came to your door claiming to be someone from your bank or a delivery service asking for personal details, you would most likely ask to see some form of proof. The same applies here. Make sure to carry out checks to verify the person you’re speaking to is who they say they are.

    A good habit is to try and use a different form of communication to the one they have used to reach you. For example, if you get a text asking for bank information, try emailing or web chatting the company directly to check if it is a true request.
  3. Open up about the topic - When you receive or see a scam, tell people. Talking about fraud with loved ones and sharing advice on spotting the signs could help protect them from future attempts.
  4. Report every time – Report attempts to the relevant authorities, like Action Fraud, The National Cyber Security Centre or Citizen’s Advice. By reporting you could help shut down fake websites, phonelines, social media accounts and bank accounts so fraudsters are stopped in their tracks.

  5. Don’t feel embarrassed - Being a target of fraud can be distressing and can have as much of an emotional impact as a financial one, with recent Visa research finding one in four (26%) fraud victims felt embarrassed after the event.2

  6. Know your protections – Did you know that Visa’s Zero Liability Policy means you won’t be held responsible for any unauthorised or fraudulent payments made on your Visa debit or credit card?5

    What’s more, Visa’s advanced technologies work behind the scenes to detect, in real-time if someone else is using another person’s card details. When payments look unusual, Visa’s data prompts the bank to double-check the account holder is who they say they are, such as asking for a one-time passcode sent by text.


So let’s all play our part in the fight against fraud. Here’s how you can join Visa in taking action…


Icon for Action Fraud
Icon for national cs
Icon for Citizens Advice
Report any fraud attempts to Action Fraud Forward scam emails to the National Cyber Security Centre Alert Citizens’ Advice via its Scam Action Service


To learn more about how Visa protects your payments through its Zero Liability Policy, visit:

2 Research commissioned by Visa and conducted by Opinium with 2,000 nationally representative UK adults between 14 May 2021 and 18 May 2021.
3 Research commissioned by Visa and conducted by Opinium with 2,000 nationally representative UK adults between 14 May 2021 and 18 May 2021.
4 Action Fraud:
5 Visa's Zero Liability policy does not apply to certain commercial card and anonymous prepaid card transactions or transactions not processed by Visa. Cardholders must use care in protecting their card and notify their issuing financial institution immediately of any unauthorized use. Contact your issuer for more detail.

Tag: Payment Security