Banking fraud complaints surge 43% to all time high: Here's how you can stay safe online when moving money

Complaints about financial services firms have soared to a five-year high as payday loans firms and banks all generated increased levels of consumer disputes.

Payday loans complaints also more than doubled last year, with a "startling" 40,000 new disputes opened, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) said.

Scams where fraudsters convince victims to transfer money out of their accounts are now one of the fastest growing types of fraud.

Here are some ways to stay safe when moving money, according to Financial Fraud ActionUK (FFA):

Banking fraud complaints have surged to all time high. Credit: PA
  • If something looks different - check it

Before sending a payment to someone - stop and think if something looks different from the last time you used online or mobile banking.

It is safer to visit websites which use HTTPS or an address bar with a padlock displayed as any sensitive information provided on these sites is sent in an encrypted format and prevents criminals from intercepting the data.

  • Never login to your bank website through a link in a message

Payday loans complaints also more than doubled last year. Credit: PA

If the email or text message appears to have come from your bank, it is best to type the web address into your browser yourself.

Your bank will never email you or send you a text message asking you to disclose your PIN or full password.

  • Be cautious when using online banking services on public wifi

Public wifi hotspots are a very convenient way to access the internet however, the way in which you connect to them can also be very risky.

Accessing your online banking services over an unsecured public WiFi spot is not recommended.

If you are regular user of public wi-fi, consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) - this creates a secure connection between your computer and the internet.

  • Use official mobile banking applications

If you use an app to access your online banking, only use the official app provided by your bank and if you're unsure then contact your bank to check.

When downloading a mobile banking app, only download from official app stores, such as Apple iTunes, Android Marketplace, Google, Play Store and BlackBerry App World.

The FFA warns downloading free apps from unofficial or unknown sources could lead to your device becoming infected with a virus.

Even if you recognise the number, the nuisance caller expert suggests you tell the caller you will call them back and trust your instincts. Credit: ITV News
  • Don't respond to any unprompted messages or calls

Do not give your mobile banking security details, including your passcode, to anyone else and don’t store these on your device.

You should also set up a password or PIN to lock your mobile phone or tablet device, for added security.

  • If you spot any unauthorised transactions on your bank account, contact your bank immediately

If you are a victim of fraud you have legal protection.

This means you will not be liable for any losses unless you have acted fraudulently or without reasonable care.