How to avoid scams, fraud, and online phishing

Security · 9 February 2024Laurie Roxby

In today's digital world, awareness is the best defence against scams, fraud, and phishing. In 2022 alone, over GBP 1.2B was reported stolen by fraudsters.

At Revolut, our team of experts take a data-driven approach to fraud management, deploying a sophisticated detection platform to protect our customers from falling victim to these criminals.

It’s also how we saved customers £200M in potentially-fraudulent transactions in 2022. In this blog, our fraud prevention team is here to guide you through the common tactics used by scammers –– and most importantly, how you can protect yourself and your money.

Understanding scams and fraud

Fraud and scams may seem to have similar meanings, but they have some differences, too.

What is fraud?

Fraud, also known as unauthorised fraud, is when sophisticated individuals try to steal your money, sensitive information, or financial assets — basically, any activity in your account that happens without your authorisation.

For instance, when someone uses your card details or misuses your bank account without your consent, that's fraud. That's why it's important to keep an eye out for anything suspicious (or that you didn't authorise) and report it immediately.

What is a scam?

Scams, also known as authorised fraud, are like tricks or traps set by these individuals aiming to deceive you into making a payment, a bank transfer, or sharing of confidential information.

They might promise amazing deals, pretend to represent trustworthy institutions (e.g. police or tax authorities), or someone you trust — then trick you into authorising a transaction, or disclosing information.

Lottery scams (where individuals receive notifications claiming they've won a prize but need to pay fees to claim it), for instance, are a common tactic. Being aware of approaches like these is one of the best forms of defence — for you, and your money.

What is the difference between fraud and a scam?

Fraud is activity in your account that you didn't recognise, or didn't authorise. A scam is when you authorise the payment yourself.

If someone steals your card details and uses it, it's fraud. If someone tricks you into giving out your card details and uses your funds, it's a scam.

How to identify a scammer

Scammers often use tricks to lure you into sharing personal information, or moving your money. There are a few telltale signs, including:

  • Inconsistent stories. If what they say doesn't add up, or changes frequently, be wary.
  • Urgent requests. Scammers might pressure you for immediate action or ask you to keep things secret.
  • Suspicious links, emails, or text messages. Double-check anything that seems odd or unfamiliar.

Fortunately, there are ways you can protect yourself. Make yourself a checklist like the one we’ve compiled below, and try to work through it before you make any decisions about sending your money.

  • Research and verification. Before sharing any personal details, research the sender or company. Check for contact details, read reviews, and verify with trusted sources.
  • Trust your instincts. If something feels off, take a step back and investigate. Always question things that seem too good to be true.
  • Secure transactions. Use secure payment methods and verify the authenticity of the recipient. Stick to trusted websites and platforms for transactions.
  • Update your Revolut app. This is essential for reinforcing our protective measures. Enable auto-updates in your device settings to guarantee you're running the most secure version.
  • Report suspicious activity. If something seems suspicious, let us know — we're here to help you 24/7, directly from the app.

And remember, Revolut will only communicate through our official in-app chat support, and we'll never ask you to move your money to a different account for safety reasons – especially not via phone.

If you use our retail app and we need to call you, we’ll only do so once we’ve scheduled it with you via the in-app chat.

For more information on fraud prevention, explore our online resources.

Types of fraud to look out for

Account takeover

What it means: account takeover occurs when unauthorised individuals gain access to your account and attempt transactions, or misuse your personal information.

How do I stop it from happening?

  • Keep your login credentials (username, password, PIN) confidential. Never share this information, and don't keep it on your phone. Consider updating your passwords regularly.
  • Activate two-factor authentication (2FA) for an additional layer of security. So if someone obtains your password, they'd still need a secondary verification method.
  • Regularly review your account statements and transaction history. If you notice any unfamiliar activities, report them to our customer support immediately.

Invoice misdirection

What it means: invoice misdirection is when attackers manipulate or intercept legitimate invoices, directing payments to fraudulent accounts instead of the intended recipients.

How do I stop it?

  • Verify invoices. Always cross-check the details on invoices, especially payment instructions.
  • Use trusted channels. Confirm any changes to payment details directly with known contacts via established communication channels. Also, pay close attention to detail (e.g. always confirm the email address you’re communicating with).


What it means: a technologically-advanced act of manipulation that uses artificial intelligence to create highly convincing fake videos or audios. These fabricated media pieces often depict individuals saying or doing things they never did, blurring lines of reality.

How do I spot them?

  • Look out for signs like unusual blinking, lip syncing issues, flickering around faces, and poorly rendered details like jewellery or teeth. Trust your instincts!
  • Be extra cautious when speaking to anyone regarding your money. Deepfakes utilise impersonation, often of voice or appearance, in an attempt to gain unauthorised access to your accounts.
  • If you encounter anything suspicious or believe you’ve been targeted by a deepfake, reach out to our dedicated support team immediately. You can report any potential security threats promptly through our in-app chat.

ID fraud (Identity fraud):

What it means: ID (or IDV: identity verification) fraud involves deceitful attempts to use identity verification processes to gain unauthorised access to accounts or services.

How do I prevent it from happening?

  • Safeguard your personal identification documents and information.
  • Be wary of phishing attempts or fraudulent requests for personal information.
  • If you notice any strange or suspicious identity verification requests, report it immediately to our customer support team through our in-app chat.

Types of scams to look out for

Scams can come in many different forms. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common for you to be aware of.

Investment scams

What they promise: large profits, involving minimal effort. Also known as 'get rich quick' schemes.

How do I spot them?

  • Be cautious of deals that promise quick returns without proper details. These are often too good to be true.
  • Always invest using licensed investment platforms or companies, and check that the platform is trustworthy before investing.
  • Make sure the investment is registered with legitimate financial records.
  • Stay alert if investment opportunities suddenly appear without your inquiry or request.

Rental scams

What it means: fraudsters pose as landlords or property managers, tricking individuals into paying upfront fees or deposits for fake rental properties.

How do I spot them?

  • Visit the property. If possible, physically inspect the property before making any payments.
  • Research the landlord. Verify the landlord's identity and contact information through reliable sources.
  • Use secure payment methods. Avoid making payments through unsecured methods, and be cautious of requests for cash transactions.
  • Trust your instincts. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts and be wary of high-pressure tactics.

Online shopping scams

What they promise: lower priced products, items available for sale on eBay, Vinted, Facebook, and other platforms.

How do I spot them?

  • Beware of social media marketplaces - never exchange funds before you’ve seen the goods.
  • They'll try to move the deal away from the platform by sending fake payment links in messages or emails. Always stick to in-platform transactions.
  • If you spot a deal that’s too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Be cautious if the site seems suspicious or lacks a professional appearance.
  • Use websites with secure payment options, and avoid those requesting bank transfers instead of secure payment gateways.

Phishing scams

Phishing is a practise used by criminals involving fake emails, messages, or websites that look legitimate in order to trick you into sharing important personal information.

These scammers pretend to be from trusted sources like banks, companies, or even friends.

Phishing emails

A form of cyber attack, delivered via email. These malicious messages typically appear to be from legitimate sources with the intent to collect personal and financial information.

Common warning signs include:

  • Urgency, or unusual topics. Scammers might create urgency, asking you to act immediately to avoid a problem or gain a benefit, such as an unexpected prize.
  • Suspicious links or unexpected attachments. Hover over links or attachments to check their legitimacy, as these may be used to install malware or direct you to fake websites.
  • Grammatical errors. Many phishing emails have spelling mistakes or incorrect grammar, which should be a red flag.
  • A suspicious email address. Pro tip: always check for hard-to-spot typos! Our legitimate domain is, be cautious if the email comes from a domain that looks almost like the legitimate one but has slight differences such as,, or, for example.
  • Generic greetings. Phishing emails often use generic greetings like "Dear Customer" instead of addressing you by name. Legitimate sources usually personalise emails by addressing you directly.
  • Requests for confidential data. Emails requesting sensitive information like bank account numbers, passwords, or social security details – something trusted sources very rarely do.

Remember, we'll never ask for sensitive information or urge immediate action through suspicious emails.

Any discussions with our retail customers containing confidential information will always be conducted in-app, with the only exception related to overdue repayments for any Revolut Credit products.

If you encounter a phishing email with someone impersonating Revolut, please let us know immediately through our in-app chat, and an agent will be ready to help you.

Smishing and vishing

What it means: SMS phishing or scam messages; and voice phishing or scam calls

What they do: send deceptive messages trying to trick you into sharing personal information, or visit harmful links. They then use these links either to access your account or to trick you into sending them funds.

How do I spot them?

  • One prominent example is pending package scams. These involve scammers posing as representatives from a legitimate shipping company, asking for a small payment to resolve a problem –– and may even offer a refund.
  • As for vishing, scammers often impersonate legitimate entities over the phone to extract personal or financial information from you. Criminals pose as Revolut support or fraud team members, as well as utility providers or even government entities. Some use dummy phone numbers to imitate official ones, too.

If you’re on the phone to a Revolut member, we’ll never:

  • Tell you that your money is in danger
  • Ask you to move money into another account
  • Ask you for your passcodes, passwords, PINs, or card details

Always reach out to the customer support of the company or entity the scammer is claiming to be from — they'll be able to either verify the call, or report it internally on your behalf.

Romance scams

What they promise: a relationship that builds over time but evolves into an ask for money later on.

How do I spot them?

  • Watch out for relationships where they make excuses not to meet face-to-face.
  • Beware of sudden love interests suddenly asking for money, no matter the reason. Scammers unfortunately can manipulate innocent people into believing they’re helping their loved ones.

Job scams

What they promise: an employment opportunity that requires an up-front payment or loan.

How do I spot them?

  • If a job promises big money for little work, or asks for payments before you start, it’s a big red flag.
  • It typically starts via a messaging app and targets younger users aged 20-35
  • They usually use genuine platforms to announce fake postings by impersonating legitimate companies, using their logos.
  • A common tactic is asking for a payment as a deposit to purchase the equipment you need for work.

Prize or payment traps

What they promise: a prize – often one from a competition you can’t remember entering.

How do I spot them? Don’t fall for messages about winning lotteries you didn’t enter or requests for money to claim prizes.

Fake tech support

What it does: pretend to be tech support to access your device or info.

How do I spot them?

  • Don’t trust unsolicited calls or pop-ups claiming your device has issues and asking for access.
  • Remember that authentic tech support won’t ask you to install remote access apps or demand control of your device.

Impersonation scams

What they are: scammers pretend to be tax officials or the police, making urgent calls about unpaid taxes or legal issues. They may also pretend to be Revolut, or family members.

How do I spot them?

  • They will sound serious, asking for immediate payments or personal details to fix alleged issues.
  • Remember that real authorities won’t rush or threaten you over the phone, and they will never rush you to send funds across to a third-party account. Don’t panic or feel pressured to share info or pay on the spot.

Charity scams

What they do: deceive individuals into making donations for non-existent or personal causes, diverting funds away from legitimate charitable purposes.

How do I spot them?

  • Look for vague mission statements. Be cautious if a charity lacks clear details about its mission, activities, or impact. Legitimate charities are transparent about their goals.
  • Beware of pressure tactics. Scammers may rush you into donating. Legitimate charities give you time to make an informed decision.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited communication. If you receive unexpected emails or calls requesting donations, verify the legitimacy before taking any action.
  • Check for a secure online presence. Legitimate charities maintain professional and secure websites. Be wary if the website lacks security features or seems suspicious.
  • Verify information. If you struggle to find credible information about a charity's activities or fund usage, it could be a red flag. Genuine charities readily provide this information.

What do you do if you've spotted a suspicious transaction?

If you notice any unfamiliar or unauthorised transactions on your card statement or transaction history, take action immediately.

Review your recent transactions in the app or statement regularly. Contact us if you see anything unusual or unrecognised.

If you suspect your card or account’s security is compromised, don’t worry. Freeze your card instantly via your app's Home screen to prevent further unauthorised use.

Reporting fraudulent transactions – what to remember

  • Stay calm if you spot unauthorised charges. We’re here to help.
  • Notify us about ‌suspected fraudulent transactions. You can easily report them through the app or by contacting customer support.
  • We’ll guide you through the chargeback or recovery process, where you can dispute unauthorised transactions. This helps in resolving the issue and getting your money back.

Your security matters to us. If you’re ever unsure about a transaction, reach out. We’re here to assist you and give you peace of mind.

What to do if you think you've been a victim of a scam?

If you think you’ve been scammed, we’re on hand to help. Here’s a checklist to run through as soon as you think you’ve fallen victim to a criminal’s attempts on your money.

Act swiftly

  • Stop interacting with the suspected scammer immediately. Cease any ongoing communication to prevent further risk.
  • Reach out to us right away. Report the incident through our app or contact customer support through our in-app chat for guidance and assistance.

Secure your accounts

  • If multiple financial institutions are involved, inform them about the suspected scam to safeguard your accounts.
  • Ensure your account security is strong. Consider changing passwords and enabling additional security measures provided by Revolut.

Report the incident

  • Notify the police. Provide as much detail as possible, including any relevant documentation or evidence.

How we keep you safe from scams

At Revolut, we believe security shouldn’t be a luxury. And that’s why we put it at the heart of everything we do.

Protected by a 2,500+ dedicated team, Revolut customers saved more than £200M in potentially-fraudulent transactions in 2022 alone.

Whether spending or sending with Revolut, we’ve got your back. Here’s how.

Staying safe when spending with Revolut

First up, let’s cover how we protect you while you’re spending.

  • We’ll flag anything suspicious immediately – so take note of our notifications. High-risk transactions and suspicious spending patterns are flagged by our award-winning machine learning models. We’ll notify you and take action immediately. If we freeze your card, you can review it and if you recognise the transaction, you can unfreeze it in a tap.
  • You’re in control of your security settings. Contactless payment limits, cash withdrawals, online shopping, and more can be set in-app. And for an extra layer of security, set up location-based triggers.

Staying safe when sending money with Revolut

Being cautious when you send money is always advised –– but Revolut customers get added protections for even more peace of mind.

  • Private payments to keep your info under wraps. You decide whether to hide your name or profile picture when you’re sending money to a Revolut account that isn’t in your contacts – or choose not to be discoverable at all. All your chats are encrypted, too.
  • Algorithms built to keep you safe. Round-the-clock protection to spot suspicious activity, and to catch the latest criminal techniques. We launch app store updates regularly, making sure customers stay one step ahead. Scammers move fast, but we move faster.
  • Award-winning support that’s with you in two minutes, 24/7. Chat to us in 100+ languages, directly from your app.

So there you have it: a fully-fledged guide on how to avoid scams and phishing –– and how Revolut will help you along the way.

As always, be sure to reach out to our support team any time of day if you have any questions or concerns about the safety of your money.

Share article