Security and fraud prevention | RBS

Security and Fraud Prevention

As we rebuild our customers’ trust, it’s vital we protect their money, their personal information and the services they rely on. We are working harder than ever to keep our customers safe and secure.

Our customers and the bank have faced an increased threat from fraud, scams and cyber attacks in 2017. Across our industry, thieves have managed to exploit compromised card data, get customers’ security information and bypass security checks.

In response, we’re collaborating with others in the industry to continually improve our security using innovative solutions. 


Key security stats

  • There has been a sustained improvement in the number of customers impacted by fraud with a 26% reduction in 2017 compared to 2016.
  • We keep money safe and accessible for our customers, including preventing 485,000 cases of attempted fraud amounting to £244 million in the UK*. 


How we have improved our security

The safety of our colleagues and customers is always a top priority for the bank. Our Security teams work round the clock to ensure RBS is a safe place to work, with plans, processes and controls in place.



  • This year, we delivered 112 security awareness seminars and events for around 8,373 customers, staff and industry partners. 
  • During 2017, criminals using spoofed RBS email domains attempted to send 9.86 million phishing emails to our customers and as a result of new controls deployed by the bank 98% of these were blocked from delivery.
  • We delivered awareness campaigns to help keep our customers safe and secure. These included Think before you click, where we provided simple tips to prevent ransomware maliciously encrypting computer files and preventing access unless a fee (ransom) is paid.
  • In the fight against scams, we are a founding partner with the National Trading Standards Scams Team on their Friends Against Scams initiative. Launched in 2016, the campaign is encouraging individuals to become more aware of how easily they could become a victim, and learn how to protect themselves. Friends Against Scams has also provided training for more than 20,000 colleagues, including our Chief Executive Ross McEwan.
  • We delivered a Dementia Awareness Training course accross our Personal and Business Banking employees and now have 16,000 Dementia Friends across our frontline. This awareness training helps colleagues to identifiy customers with cognitive impairments and to proactively help prevent them becoming victims of fraud.
  • We sponsored a British Standard Specification, aimed at helping the sector raise it's standards in protecting customers from fraud and scams. The BSI PAS 17271 has been adopted by and incorporated into the Joint Fraud Task Force Victims and Susceptibility work stream, which was published in October 2017 to create a sector benchmark and guidance within the industry.
  • We introduced real-time text and email alerts when customers enrol and re-enrol for online banking. This is to help reassure customers and notify them of possible fraudulent activity.
  • We have improved the visibility of our Security Centre across all of our websites and introduced improvements to our search engines to help customers find security-related information easily.

How we keep track of our security needs

  • We have an internal risk appetite for security threats and we continually challenge ourselves to reduce fraud losses and improve the customer experience.
  • We innovate and collaborate with peers to keep up to data with any developments in the world of physical and cyber security, so we can anticipate threats and improve our responses if needed.

*Data relates to reported attempted fraud cases and prevented third party losses in the UK (not including policy declines for debit cards).

Read about how we respect and protect our customers’ privacy
*Limited assurance provided by Ernst & Young LLP.
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