Online and telephone fraud

At Sainsbury's Bank we’re committed to protecting our customers from fraud and giving practical advice on how to stay safe online. Here are some hints and tips about phishing emails and things to look for.

What is phishing?

Phishing emails are fraudulent emails that look as if they're from your bank, and try to collect your online login details by getting you to log in to a fraudulent website.

We’ll never ask for your login details. If you receive an email like this, do not click on any links in it. Instead, forward it to us at

Look out for:

  • Informal wording that’s not in the style you would expect from a legitimate company
  • Poor grammar and spelling
  • A request to confirm or verify your account, or enter your account details, password or PIN
  • Emails claiming to have an ‘Important message for you - click here’
  • Emails that claim your account has been compromised or if you don’t respond within a certain timescale your account will be closed
  • Emails that start ‘Dear customer’ or ‘Valued customer’
  • Emails that ask you to click a link to get access to your account.


Spyware is software can collect personal information about you, track the websites you visit or change the configuration of your computer.

Some spyware simply displays advertising such as pop-up windows, while more malicious versions can record what you key in, to try to intercept your passwords or credit card numbers.

Downloading games, pictures, screensavers etc. from dubious sites can cause spyware to be installed onto your computer. Certain pop-ups that appear when visiting websites can also install spyware.

These tips can help you stop spyware from infecting your computer:

  • Download and install anti-spyware software such as Microsoft's free anti-spyware program, Windows Defender
  • Keep your computer software up to date
  • Only download and install programs from websites you trust
  • Read security information, privacy statements and licence agreements when you install downloaded software.
  • Don’t click 'OK' or 'I Agree' on pop-up windows unless you know what you’re agreeing to

Spam and how to avoid it
Sainsbury's Bank will never pass your email address to another company or individual. To minimise the amount of spam you receive, don’t:

Put your email address on a newsgroup, message board or personal webpage
Signing up for a email newsletter or web service that doesn’t let you opt out of sharing your email address with others

Trojans give fraudsters unauthorised access to your computer so that they can record your online activities. They may record your personal login details by:

  • Recording the keys you press on your keyboard
  • Copying images displayed on your screen, including online application forms

If you're asked to login via a format that looks different to our standard login page (e.g. a pop-up window or a dialogue box), that could be a Trojan.

A virus is a computer program that can replicate itself and spread from one computer to another. A virus can infect and damage your computer.

What to look out for

Email is a common way for viruses to spread, so be careful when you open emails from unfamiliar senders.

If you use social networking sites, make sure you're careful about the information that you post on there (for example, you shouldn't give your full address or date of birth). Be wary of accepting friend requests or joining groups when you're not certain you know who has invited you. This can be a way that fraudsters infect your computer with a virus or Trojan.

The best way to protect your computer from viruses is to keep your anti-virus software up to date.

Be wary of any email or website that claims to be recruiting for ‘financial agents' to transfer money overseas via online bank accounts. Funds used in these scams are usually the proceeds of fraud, and your involvement could lead to a police investigation and your account being closed.

What to look out for

Look out for suspicious emails or ads from unknown parties, particularly if they contain spelling and grammatical mistakes.

If you get a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from Sainsbury's Bank, there are certain requests we will never make of our customers, meaning the call must be from a fraudster. There has been a sharp rise in telephone scams deceiving customers of all financial institutions into revealing their financial information, or transferring money to criminals. Read the Joint Declaration published by UK banks and the police on the requests we will never ask of you over the phone.

There have been incidences of customers receiving phone calls from companies offering to repair or upgrade their computer. These callers then turn out to be fraudsters who install software allowing them to take over your computer and access Online Banking.

Help stop telephone fraud

  • Don't allow someone who calls you unexpectedly to access or install software on your computer
  • Don't disclose your Online Banking password or memorable information to anyone
  • We'll never ask you to transfer your money to another account due to fraud or any other issue
  • We'll never make an automated call asking you to approve a refund into your account

The British Bankers' Association's Know Fraud, No Fraud campaign features some key advice to help you spot the tactics used by fraudsters. They highlight eight key things your bank will never ask you to do, but a fraudster might:

  • Ask for your full PIN number or any online banking passwords over the phone or via email
  • Send someone to your home to collect cash, bank cards or anything else
  • Ask you to email or text personal or banking information
  • Send an email with a link to a page which asks you to enter your online banking log-in details
  • Ask you to authorise the transfer of funds to a new account or hand over cash
  • Call to advise you to buy diamonds, land or other commodities
  • Ask you to carry out a test transaction online
  • Provide banking services through any mobile apps other than the bank’s official apps

Find out more and download the leaflet at the Know Fraud, No Fraud website.

Our friends at Get Safe Online have given us these tips:

  1. Never give out personal or financial data
  2. Check organisations are genuine before you give them confidential information
  3. Don’t open email attachments or click links from senders you don’t know
  4. Avoid malware – don’t attach external storage devices to your computer if you don’t know where they’ve come from.

For more advice, go to

Take five to consider these important tips.

  1. Never disclose security details
  2. Don’t assume an email, text or phone call is genuine
  3. Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision
  4. Listen to your instincts
  5. Stay in control

Don’t get caught out and stay in control. You’ll find more advice at