Reporting suspicious activity
Fraud activity can occur in various forms from receiving a suspicious email, identity theft and being a victim of fraud.
Suspicious emails (phishing)
Phishing is a common scam where fraudsters send emails pretending to come from a bank, credit card company, retailer, Government body or other trusted organisation. They usually try to trick you into clicking on a link to go to the site (often to update your password or Account details to avoid your Account being suspended). If you click the link in the email you’ll be taken to a website that looks genuine - but is actually a fake site designed to trick you into entering personal information such as your log in details, password, Account number or other sensitive information.
Reporting a suspicious phishing email
If you receive an email relating to American Express® that you believe could be fraudulent, immediately forward it to us. Please do not include your Account number in the email.
Note: This is a no-reply inbox.
If you feel your American Express Account information has been compromised, please contact us immediately.
What to look out for
The email itself can also look as if it comes from a genuine source. Fake emails can often (but not always) be spotted in the following ways:
- Email attachments: emails with attachments asking you to install software which actually allows fraudsters to record your computer key strokes
- Text errors: emails that contain typographical or grammatical errors
- Pop-up windows: windows that pop up over a legitimate company's website asking you to enter personal information.
- The sender’s email address is different from the real organisation’s website address
- The email is sent from a completely different address or a free webmail address
- The email does not include the end digits of your Account number
- They want you to act urgently – i.e. that unless you do something right away, your Account may be closed or suspended
- The email contains a request for personal information such as username, password or bank details.
How to protect yourself from phishing
- Never release your Card number, Card security code, PIN or password to an unknown person or organisation
- Beware of anyone calling or emailing you and requesting security information. If you are unsure about the identity of a caller, phone American Express using the number on the back of your Card.
- American Express is obliged to identify you when calling you. If we call you we will normally ask only for partial answers to security questions.
- Keep your anti-virus software, firewall and security patches up-to-date to prevent fraudsters accessing your details via your computer.
- Do not open emails which you suspect as being spam
- Do not respond to emails from unknown sources or open their attachments
- Most email services come with spam filtering as standard. Ensure yours is switched on
- Think before you click on links in emails from unknown sources. Instead, roll your mouse pointer over the link to reveal its true destination. Beware if this is different from what is displayed in the text of the link from the email
- Most spam and junk filters can be set to allow email to be received from trusted sources, and blocked from untrusted sources.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is a type of fraud whereby someone uses your name and personal information to open new accounts or take over your existing account for financial gain. Apart from the inconvenience and potential cost, identity theft can also result in damage to your credit rating – making it difficult to get loans, credit cards or mortgages until the matter is resolved.
What identity theft can look like
“Bin raiders" go through your dustbin looking for the documents and post you've thrown away. These may contain information that can be used for fraudulent purposes.
You receive a phone call from someone who claims to work for your financial institution or the police. They ask you about your Account details looking to acquire your personal information or ask you to perform actions such as handing your card over to a courier as it is required for evidence or investigation.
Alternatively, a caller claims there is a problem with your computer or internet connection and wants you to take immediate action, such as allowing remote access to your computer. This can lead to compromise of your computer or financial details.
Reporting identity theft
If you have been a victim of identity theft related to an American Express product, please contact us immediately.
How to protect yourself against identity theft
Check your Account regularly
- Get in the habit of checking your statements thoroughly. This is easy to do with our Online Services where you can check your transactions daily, anytime and virtually anywhere in the world. Learn more
- Switch to paper-free statements and view your Account online. By avoiding paper statements going through the post or not being disposed of properly, you can guard against identity theft. Learn more
- Register for Card alerts, which monitor your Account with weekly updates via email or texts. Learn more
- Keep copies of your receipts and compare them to your statement
- Never let anyone else use your Cards, and don’t share the passcode for any Mobile Wallet enabled device or allow them to add their fingerprint to it. If you give away a Mobile Wallet enabled device, remove your personal information beforehand.
Keep your Card safe
- Never let anyone else use your Card
- Immediately sign the back of new Cards
- Always destroy old, expired Cards by cutting them up
- Let us know immediately if you've lost your Card, or think it may be stolen. We will then be able to cancel the Card and help prevent fraudulent transactions.
- Be cautious of distractions when using ATMs in case someone is trying to get hold of your Card or cash
Protect your PIN
- Never keep your PIN in your wallet, purse or diary, or record it in a way that others could understand
- Do not tell anyone else your PIN
- Always try to cover your hand when entering your PIN at a terminal or ATM to prevent hidden cameras or others seeing your number
- If you can remember different PINs for different cards, good practice is to use different values to reduce the risk of card misuse if one of your PINs becomes compromised
Keep your devices safe
- Don't let anyone else use your personal devices enabled for mobile payments.
- Ensure you use a screen lock on your device.
- Contact us immediately if you have a device enabled for Amex payments which is lost or stolen.
Protecting your identity
- Safeguard all your personal information and documents - this information can be used to steal your identity
- Consider carefully what personal information you reveal on social media
- Shred any sensitive information from financial organisations or utility companies when no longer needed
- Review your credit reference report (see agencies below) regularly; this may be the earliest way to spot fraudulent activity when you are the victim identity theft. Free basic services may be available but there may be charges for more sophisticated services.
- Ensure that your email account is secure, that you regularly change your password and that mail forwarding options are as you have set them.
Further security advice can be found on the American Express Security Centre.
Credit Reference Agencies
Credit File Advice Centre
P.O. Box 1140
0870 010 0583
Consumer Help Service
PO Box 9000
0870 241 6212
Consumer Services Team
PO Box 491
0870 060 1414
What is fraud?
If you spot a transaction you don’t recognise on your statement, you may have been a victim of fraud. Be sure to check the tips to confirm the unrecognised charge - often, your query can be resolved right there.
Tips to check if you don’t recognise a charge on your statement
There are a number of steps you can take to resolve an unrecognised charge before contacting us:
- Using an online search engine to find more details on the retailer that appears on your statement as they could be using a third party name.
- Checking if it is an online purchase (ie .co.uk or .com). If so, check your personal email inbox (and junk folder) for an email confirmation from the company.
- Considering whether it could be a monthly or yearly subscription.
- Contacting the retailer listed on the statement. In many cases, a charge can be resolved directly with the original company that the goods/services were purchased from.
- Checking the exchange rate if the amount charged is not as expected.
How does American Express protect you against fraud?
Spend and relax anywhere in the world. At American Express we keep you protected so you can use your Card in confidence. As part of our regular screening of Cardmember transactions, our systems will look for unusual transactions - this could include purchases outside your normal spending habits. When we identify suspicious activity, we may try to contact you to verify whether the transaction is legitimate. However, there may be cases where we will try to prevent a potential fraudulent transaction by putting a hold on your account transactions.
In order to receive fraud protection alerts via SMS and/or email, please ensure your contact details are kept up to date.
When is it safe to use my Card?
Using your Card online is safe and easy as long as you follow one simple rule - only ever use secure web pages. A web page is secure if there is a locked padlock in the upper left-hand corner of your browser, or if the address starts with ‘https’, where the ‘s’ stands for secure.
Where can I find more information about protecting myself from fraud?
Take five is a national awareness campaign led by FFA UK (part of UK Finance) that is designed to help the public to know when to be cautious and thus reduce the chance of being a victim of fraud.
You can also find more information about protecting yourself online by visiting the Cyber Aware wesbit
If you need to report a fraud or cyber crime you can do this via ActionFraud - the UK's national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.