By Lea Pachta

With the continuing increase in the popularity of banking ‘remotely’ – either online or over the phone – Financial Fraud Action UK has published an updated security advice guide – Advice for phone and online banking users.

The guide, which can be downloaded by visiting or, explains:

– the benefits of remote banking
– the common sense steps that can be taken to minimise the risk of fraud; and
– some of the online and phone scams that we should all be aware of.

It is just 12 years since internet banking began, but its popularity has grown so much that, in the first half of 2009, 22 million adults used internet banking on their main current account. This means that for the first time ever more than 50 per cent of regular internet users (41.4 million) are banking online. The number of people banking over the telephone has declined to 14.5 million from a high of 16.1 million in 2005, as many of us have found it more convenient to switch from banking over the phone to the internet. Last year 26.8 million adults used at least one of online or phone banking.

The most popular tasks that people who bank online carry out on their main current account are checking account balances and checking statements, used by 95 per cent and 83 per cent of users respectively. Phone banking still remains a popular way for people to enquire about their account, with more than six in ten phone banking customers using the service in this manner, compared with less than two in ten people doing this who bank online.

Katy Worobec, Head of Fraud Control, says:

Online and phone banking has totally changed the way we manage our accounts, enabling us to keep a much closer eye on our finances outside of traditional banking hours. The chances of becoming a victim of online or phone banking fraud are low, but there are a number of common sense steps that people can follow to significantly minimise the chances of becoming a victim of fraud. Our new guide detailing this advice can be downloaded from

One of the simplest tips is to make sure that you keep your login details and passwords safe and secure. A common scam is for criminals to phone up or email prospective victims, pretending to be from that person’s bank. The fraudster then seeks to gain the victim’s trust before asking for login details, PINs or passwords.

Katy Worobec continued:

Online and phone banking customers should make sure they remain wary of unsolicited emails or calls from people claiming to be from their bank. You should never tell anyone what your PIN is and you should never enter personal details after accessing a website via a hyperlink in an email.”

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