What’s the difference between fraud and a scam?

Fraud and scams

What is the difference between fraud and a scam?

What is fraud?

Fraud is a criminal act to deceive you and take your cash – it's a transaction that you didn't know about or authorise. For example, fraudsters may use your details to open accounts under your name or your business.

Further examples of fraud include:

  • Fraudulent spend on your debit or credit card
  • Stealing, altering or forging cheques
  • Employees being coerced into committing crimes such as payment fraud, known as internal fraud.

What is a scam?

A scam is where you’re tricked into making or authorising a payment to a criminal’s account. Scammers impersonate banks and official organisations using emails, phone calls and texts that look and sound genuine. These scams are known as phishing, vishing and smishing.

Further examples of scams include:

  • Emails, phone calls and texts claiming to be from HMRC requesting payments
  • Receiving an update that your supplier’s details have changed
  • CEO impersonation to request urgent payments to a supplier.

How to protect your business from fraud and scams

Follow our checklist below to help your organisation stay one step ahead of cyber criminals.



Ensure your teams have access to training and support on your financial processes.



Take advantage of any fraud training opportunities and ensure that all colleagues are aware of the latest fraud attacks.



Issue regular reminders to your teams on how to follow important processes, and consider testing these.



Ensure that your internal fraud prevention methods are robust and regularly reviewed.



Keep up to date with the latest information and resources and share this knowledge with your employees.



Ensure payments requests are input, verified and authorised following adequate internal processes and controls.

Reporting fraud

Think you’ve fallen victim to fraud or a scam? Contact us right away.
Please call 0330 156 0155* to report concerns of fraud or scams.

Barclays will never send you an email requesting personal information or your bank security details. If you receive a suspicious email, please send it as an attachment to internetsecurity@barclays.co.uk and delete the email immediately.

Where to next

Fraud Protection

Fraud Protection

Head back to our dedicated hub for the latest fraud trends and useful resources to help protect your business from cyber criminals.


What is Phishing?

Phishing is an email based fraud, and a form of social engineering. Find out how to avoid phishing attacks.

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