Purpose – the purpose of this paper is to establish a conceptual as well as an empirical link between retail banks’ activities to protect their customers from third-party fraud, the quality of customer relationships, and customer loyalty.design/methodology/approach – a conceptual framework is developed linking customer familiarity with and knowledge about fraud prevention measures, relationship quality, and customer loyalty. To empirically test the conceptual framework, data were collected in collaboration with a large german retail bank.findings – a positive association was found between customer familiarity with and knowledge about fraud prevention measures and the quality of customer relationships as measured by satisfaction, trust, and commitment. The quality of customer relationships, in turn, is positively associated with customer loyalty as measured by intentions to continue their relationship with and cross-buy other products from their bank.research limitations/implications – the paper focuses on the german retail banking market and uses data from only one bank. Future research may investigate the generalizability of the findings across other banks, as well as other countries. Moreover, future research could address how specific anti-fraud instruments and their communication differentially affect customer satisfaction, trust, and commitment.practical implications – the results stress the importance of fraud prevention for retail banks and show that besides the financial objective of reducing operating costs, fraud prevention and its effective communication is a meaningful way to improve customer relationship quality and, ultimately, customer loyalty.originality/value – this is the first academic study to empirically examine the relationship between a retail bank's (communication about) fraud prevention mechanisms and the quality of their customer relationships.