Barclays customers could “turn off” cards in a bid to tackle fraud

Barclays customers will be able to turn their debit cards instantly "on and off”, as part of a £10m digital safety initiative.

Barclays customers could “turn off” cards in a bid to tackle fraud

The bank has launched this initiative at a time when figures from the Office of National Statistics and Action Fraud found fraud and cyber offences cost the UK £11bn last year.

Barclays customers will be able to instantly “turn on and off” whether their card can be used to make remote purchases and set their own daily ATM withdrawal limits on their Barclays Mobile Banking app.

Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays UK, launched the initiative this week and said: “Fraud is often wrongly described as an invisible crime, but the effects are no less damaging to people’s lives.

“I want to help make digital safety as commonplace as locking your front door. I want businesses, the police and the public to unite and stand shoulder to shoulder together so that we can block and frustrate the bad guys at every turn.”

As part of the initiative the bank aims to help three million people boost their digital safety levels by using a new online quiz to assess their level and receive tips on how to strengthen it.

The bank will also host regular fraud awareness takeovers on its online and mobile banking sites, provide digital safety teach-ins to people and open free support clinics for the SMEs it serves.

Barclays research found a quarter of people in the UK have experienced a cyber-fraud or scam in the past three years, but said if people implemented the below tips the level of fraud could be cut by up to 75 percent:

  • Never give out your full online banking PIN, passcode or password to anyone, even a caller claiming to be from the police or your bank
  • Do not click on any link or open an attachment on any e-mail you receive which is unsolicited
  • Avoid letting someone you do not know have access to your computer, especially remotely

Laura Flack, Barclays head of digital safety, said: “Crooks are using ever more sophisticated tactics to trick people into handing over their bank details, or to pay money to a fraudster when they believe they are simply paying their builder or solicitor.

“Often staying safe isn’t rocket science. A few practical steps and a dose of vigilance can boost your safety immeasurably. Remember if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”