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Keeping your home safe

Keeping your home safe from scams is important. You can protect your home from most fraud by knowing the warning signs, and what you can do if you see them.

An unexpected visitor at your door may be a real sales person, meter reader or police officer. But it could also be a fraudster attempting to take your money.

What to look out for:

  • Unexpected visitors - You don’t have to let anyone into your home if you weren’t expecting them. Be careful if a stranger comes to your door even if they are asking for a drink of water or to use your toilet. This is a common way thieves get into your house.
  • The visitor won’t show you their ID - All official visitors should always carry ID. For example a police officer should carry a warrant card (badge), even if they’re undercover or in plain clothes. Any official visitor should be able to show you their ID before you let them into your home.
  • The visitor asks you to move your money - Fraudsters may visit you claiming to be from the police. During their visit they might tell you your money is at risk and you need to move it to a ‘safe account’. The police would never tell you to do this.
  • The visitor tells you to have urgent work carried out - A fraudster may claim to be a builder recommending you need urgent building work on your home.
  • The visitor pressures you - Fraudsters will tell you that the reason for their visit is urgent and that you have to take action immediately.

What you can do:

  • Keep your home secure - A visitor might keep you busy at the front door whilst someone else sneaks in the back. Before you answer the door, close and lock your other doors and windows.
  • Ask the visitor to wait outside while you check their ID - If someone you don't know wants to come into your home, ask them to wait outside (even if they say they're the police). Call the organisation the visitor says they’re from to check their name and ID number. Don't use a number the visitor has given you. Look up the number on a bill or letter, or in the phone book. 
  • Use reminders if you think you'll forget to check a visitor's ID - Tape a reminder note to the inside of your front door. You'll see it each time before you open the door to a visitor. 
  • Don’t transfer money if you’re asked to by someone who says they are police - The police will never ask you to use your own money to trap a criminal. 
  • Don’t let a meter reader or utility company worker into your home until you have called the company - Genuine meter readers won't mind waiting outside with the door closed whilst you check with the company. Use a number from the phone book, a bill or a letter to call the company. Don't use a number the visitor has given you.
  • Insist on a contract for building or maintenance work - If a visitor offers to do building work, ask them to come back at an agreed time when a trusted friend or family member can join you. Ask for a written estimate and proof of insurance before you agree to any work. 
  • Don’t get pressured  - If someone is pressuring you, you should ask them to leave. If they don’t call 999 for the police.

The times when you move large amounts of money are prime targets for fraudsters. For example when you’re buying a home. The fraudsters may hack your lawyer’s email accounts or your own, then send emails asking you to send money to a new account controlled by the fraudster.

What to look out for:

  • You’re sent an email with payment details - a fraudster may send an email pretending to be from your lawyer that tells you where to send your payment.  But if the fraudster has hacked your lawyer’s system they may not be who they say they are.
  • You’re asked to send your money to a new bank account - An email that looks like it’s from your lawyer tells you to send your money to a different account than they first gave you. They may say they’ve changed banks, or that their usual account is not available.
  • You’ve been asked to send an urgent payment - The fraudster’s email may urge you to act immediately.  They’ll often send the email at the end of the week so that they can vanish with the money over the weekend, whilst your real lawyer is closed.

What you can do:

  • Be wary of account details provided in an email - Never make a payment to any account details you've been sent by email, until you've carried out the separate checks below.
  • Look for email spelling differences - The fraudster may use an email address that's slightly different to the one your real lawyer uses. But remember, if the fraudster has hacked your lawyer’s system the email address can look exactly the same. That's why it's so important to carry out separate checks.
  • Double check the sort code and account number, before you send your money - If you’re sent an email with the payment details contact your lawyer on the phone or in person to confirm the sort code and account number are correct.  Don’t use a number that’s given in the email; use one from the phone book or a letter.
  • Make sure your own email account isn't easy for fraudsters to hack - Use strong passwords that aren't easy to guess, and use a different password for each online account. Keep your anti-virus, operating system and browser up to date. Avoid using free WiFi to check your emails.

**Remember: UK banks send payments by sort code and account number, not the account holder's name. So a payment is likely to go through even if the account holder name doesn't match.

  • Make a small test payment before sending a large payment - Send a few pounds first. Then call your lawyer on a number from the phone book or one you have saved. Ask them to confirm that they've received the smaller amount before you send any more money.
  • If someone knows your Internet Banking passwords or has used your Internet Banking account without your permission
  • If money has fraudulently left your Lloyds Bank Internet Banking account
  • If you or someone you know has used a Lloyds Bank account to move someone else’s money

Report it to us

0800 917 7017 (or +44 207 4812614). Lines are open 24 hours a day.

If you have a hearing or speech impairment, you can contact us 24/7 using the Next Generation Text (BGT) Service. If you’re Deaf and a BSL user, you can use the SignVideo service.

For any other issues that you think may be related to fraud please call Action Fraud:

0300 123 2040

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am-6pm. Text phone users can ring 0300 123 2050.

They’ll be able to log the incident and provide you with a Crime Reference number if needed. Action Fraud collects data from across the UK to help banks and other businesses combat fraud.