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Keeping yourself secure

We take every step possible to keep your finances and information safe.

But you have an important part to play in this too. Together, we can make life difficult for fraudsters.

Our top tips for protecting yourself online

Phishing is one of the biggest causes of fraud right now. It's when fraudsters send you emails so they can steal your information. They may pretend to be a trustworthy company, like your bank. Some ways they try and get your information, is emergency situations and hard-to-refuse offers. Spot a fraudulent email by looking out for these things:

  • do you know the sender? Does the email address match one you already know? Most phishing emails won't address you personally by name
  • an email might contain links, that take you to a different website than it suggests. If you hover your mouse over the link without clicking, you can see the actual link that you'll be taken to
  • most phishing emails will urge you for a quick payment or personal information. Always check this type of request is legitimate. Never share sensitive information if you're unsure
  • many phishing emails have poor spelling and grammar in them. If you don't know the sender, weren't expecting the email, and it's full of errors, it could be a phish.

The amount of information we save on our devices is always growing. Follow our simple tips to help keep your device safe:

  • updates on your phone, computer and apps usually include security improvements. Apply automatic updates to protect your information and devices better
  • turn off the option to automatically connect to Wi-Fi, especially public networks. That way you're in control of when and where you connect. When connected to a public network, avoid making payments
  • websites starting with HTTPS (instead of HTTP) are more secure. When browsing a HTTPS page, the padlock symbol appears on the left-hand side of your browser. Never make payments on a HTTP website
  • turn on the 'auto-lock' and 'Find My Phone' features where possible. This will let you lock a device and even wipe it remotely if it’s lost or stolen.

Using the same passwords for all your accounts is very common, but it's not secure. You can improve the security of your devices and accounts if you follow these simple password tips:

  • use passphrases. Passphrases are passwords that have 3 or more random words. For example, 'ChickenDogRabbit'. Remember, it's a password's length that makes it strong, not just how complex it is. Passphrases are also much easier to memorise
  • as well as having a strong password, use multi-factor authentication (MFA) where possible. This method is common for accounts such as email log-ins. It needs additional forms of ID that only you would have. This includes a code sent to your mobile, or your fingerprint
  • never use the same password more than once. You should change your passwords regularly and don't use the default ones.

Anyone could be watching or listening to the information you share. From social media, to cold calls and even doorstop sales.

  • Sharing information on social media is part of our daily lives. You should always pay attention to what you share, especially if it includes financial details. You should configure your settings to make your social accounts private.
  • Don't share information with people you don't know or can't identify. Ask for more details to make sure people are who they say they are. When in doubt, don't give any details. Instead, contact the company directly through their official channels.

If you're unsure of an email, call or text, you should always report it. You'll know that an email is genuinely from us because we will always:

  • address it to you personally
  • include the last 4 digits of your account or card number
  • never ask you to log on to Internet Banking through a link
  • never ask you for personal information such as passwords.

If you get an email that says it's from Cater Allen but you think it's not, please forward it to

For suspicious text messages, known as smishing, please forward them to

To report a fraud or scam, please contact us on 0800 092 3300.

To increase your security online and help fight fraud, we use multi-factor authentication (MFA) methods. For example, we use One Time Passcodes (OTP) to authorise certain transactions on your account. However, there are times when cybercriminals and fraudsters try and work around MFA controls. This is so they can get access to funds in accounts.

One tactic they use is MFA Fatigue, where the victim is bombarded with requests to authenticate log in or transaction requests. They do this so that the victim gets worn down by their contact methods. They get so tired of the scammers contacting them, they either approve the request or give away information to make the notifications stop.

To avoid becoming a victim of this, you should:

  • keep up to date with data breaches, paying attention to breaches where you have accounts. Check Have I Been Pwned to understand where your details may have been compromised and which accounts you should update with new and more secure passwords
  • change passwords regularly to something unique and complex. Make sure it's longer than 12 characters, uses special characters, numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and that it doesn't have personal information in it (such as pet or family names)
  • never share OTPs or authentication codes with anyone – especially someone you don't know. Remember – it's still a version of a password so should be private to you
  • always report anything suspicious - if you think your Cater Allen account is victim to a potential MFA Fatigue attack, report it to Action Fraud.

More tips to keep yourself secure

Downloading personal information

Cater Allen Internet Banking lets you download information from your accounts. It can be saved in different formats for your ease.
If you store personal information on your computer or device, please take appropriate measures to protect it. This includes:

  • using a PIN or password on a mobile device to prevent anyone accessing it
  • making sure that your anti-virus protection software is up-to-date
  • using secure WiFi when you access the data over the internet
  • making sure you permanently delete your information. Delete from your computer or device when you no longer need it. This includes information stored in back up files.

Social networking often counters your efforts to protect yourself from identity theft. You leave a trail of personal information that fraudsters can use for their own benefit.

Things you should never share online

In addition to your passwords, never share your:

  • National Insurance number
  • date of birth
  • home address
  • home telephone number
  • town and place of birth.

All these facts could be used to compromise your accounts.

Customise your privacy options

Social networking sites give you lots of privacy control settings, make sure you don't settle for the defaults.

Check out the settings and see what options you have to customise. Your aim should be to limit who can access your personal information.

New settings are added over time so keep checking them. Sometimes social networking companies change their privacy terms and acceptable use policies.

Reduce LinkedIn details

Fraudsters use LinkedIn to target people.

Limit the information you share about your position at work. You should also remove contact information from your profile.

Remember that you can stop others accessing your network of contacts. It's common practice to make accounts more private.

Don't assume someone is who they say they are. Always verify they're real before you respond to them. Many fraudsters impersonate others online to defame someone, steal their identity, or to get money.

Look for anything unusual or out of the ordinary. If something doesn't look right, verify it directly.

Avoid sharing personal details

You wouldn't put a note saying 'way for the weekend' on your front door. So why do it on Twitter? Or Facebook? Social networks make it easy to let details out for anyone to see. Think about what you're sharing and how others might benefit from it.

  • Search yourself to get an idea about what other people can see. Search your name on Google to see what appears, publicly.
  • Get to know where you show up and adjust your profile, settings and habits accordingly.
  • Know who your friends are. If you do get an unexpected invite to connect, check out the profile before you accept it.

NEVER give your PIN to ANYONE - we will NEVER ask for this.

  • Never give your card to anyone.
  • Always check your statements and report any transactions you don't recognise straight away.
  • Keep your bank updated when you change your contact details. They may need to contact you to confirm unusual transactions.
  • Register for a protection service to help prevent your name and address from being misused by third parties e.g. CIFAS.
  • Never send personal details in an email.
  • Always enter our web address in your browser. Don't use links from emails or another site - they could take you to a fake website that looks like ours.
  • Look for the locked padlock on websites - this means you are on a secure web page.
  • Protect your device with a firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. We also recommend downloading Trusteer Rapport - it's free!*
  • Keep your operating system and web browser up to date.
  • If you're suspicious about any emails you get, do NOT respond to them. Send them to We are grateful to all customers who forward us these emails. We investigate all emails we receive, although we're not always able to respond directly to them.

*Please note, Trusteer Rapport is a third party product and is not owned by Cater Allen.

Install Trusteer Rapport security software

It's free security software, and it's won awards for keeping customers' details secure.

Trusteer Rapport works alongside your existing anti-virus and firewall software to give you more protection.

It can make the difference against identity theft and fraud. What's more, it's easy to install and you won't even need to restart your computer.

Find out more about Trusteer Rapport.

Stay safe when you shop online

  • Don't give your personal, bank account or card details to a company you don't know.
  • Always use a secure website for any payments. You'll know that a site is secure because it'll have a locked padlock symbol. The website address will begin HTTPS: rather than HTTP:.
  • Always read and understand any terms and conditions before you hand over your details.
  • Read the site's privacy policy to see how the company will use and protect your data.
  • Carefully read any marketing opt in/out wording. Make sure you understand how your details will be used for marketing. Be careful not to give permission for your details to be used by third parties.
  • Some companies have hidden extra costs in their terms and conditions - always check for this.
  • Check the delivery and returns policy. This should tell you about the cost and method of delivery, and the return and refund details. Remember that sending goods back to overseas suppliers might be expensive.
  • Never send your credit or debit card or bank details in an email.
  • Keep all passwords for accounts secret.
  • Choose a unique password. Never re-use the same password for different sites and accounts.
  • Make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus software on your computer.
  • Be careful when shopping on social network sites. Always verify the seller is a legitimate business before buying.
  • Download Trusteer Rapport*. It's free security software that can automatically protect you when you log on to Internet Banking.
  • Never tell anyone your 4-digit PIN.
  • Remember if the offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.

 *Trusteer Rapport is a third party product and is not owned by Cater Allen.

Verified by Visa

When shopping online, it's important to feel confident using your Debit Card.

Cater Allen Secure, in partnership with Verified by Visa, helps protect your Debit Card against unauthorised use when you shop online. The service is simple and free to use. It covers you when using your Cater Allen Debit Card at over 300,000 participating online retailers.

For your security, you may be prompted to asked to give some more information when making a purchase.