POPULAR SCAMS TO LOOK OUT FOR

IMPERSONATION SCAMS

Fraudsters will try all sorts of impersonation scams to try and extort money from their victims. They’ll often pretend to be from well-known organisations, such as HMRC, the Police or an internet provider, and will convey a sense of urgency or threaten you into taking action, for example with fines or legal fees.

Typical examples of impersonation scams may include:

  • fraudsters posing as a ‘government official’ who claims that your identity is being used by someone else and they urgently need you to confirm details of your passport so that you don’t get caught up in any criminal activity
  • fraudsters posing as ‘your bank’ and claiming that your account has been compromised and you need to transfer your money to a ‘safe account’ immediately
  • fraudsters posing as ‘your internet provider’ and claiming that someone else is using your internet connection and insisting on you logging into your computer and following their instructions so you can stop any illicit activity
  • fraudsters posing as ‘an HMRC official’ who claims that you have an outstanding tax bill and you need to make an immediate payment to avoid further fines or prosecution.

Impersonation scams often take place over the phone but a scammer may also use email and SMS to contact their victims.

INVOICE SCAMS

Invoice scams happen when a company or organisation is tricked into changing the bank account details for a supplier who’s owed a large sum of money.

The scammer will often carry out extensive research to find out about a company’s suppliers. Once they have this information, they’ll contact the company’s finance team and pretend to be the supplier that’s due to be paid and ask for the bank account details to be updated. Instead of paying the supplier’s invoice, the money then goes direct to the fraudster’s account.

ROMANCE SCAMS

Romance scams involves fraudsters tricking their victims into believing they’ve met their perfect partner.

Scammers often create fake profiles on dating sites or contact their targets through social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. They’ll try and gain their victim’s trust, often by talking or messaging several times a day.

Once they’ve gained their trust, they’ll make up an emotive story and ask to borrow money, perhaps to come and visit you or to pay for some surgery or flights to visit a poorly relative.

ADVANCE FEE SCAMS

Scammers will contact you, often via letter, email or SMS, offering a product or service, or a large sum of money, in return for an up-front payment. The scammer will often tell you that these payments are to cover their fees or commission, or alleged an tax bill or due diligence costs.

Both business and individuals can be targeted with advance fee scams, which are also known as 419 fraud. Typical examples include:

  • You receive an email telling you that you’ve won a cash prize or lottery jackpot. In order to collect your winnings, you need to make an upfront payment for the tax that’s owed. You make the payment but never receive your winnings.
  • You receive an email from someone in a war-torn country asking for your help in getting their money out otherwise it’s going to be handed over to the government. You agree to help. To avoid any suspicion being raised, the fraudster asks you make a payment for the taxes that are owed which will enable him to release the funds. You arrange for this to be done but never receive any money from the fraudster.
  • You receive a text message inviting you to take out a loan with a low interest rate. Once you ‘apply’ you’re asked to make an upfront payment so that you can secure the favourable terms. You make the payment but never receive the loan.
  • A scammer contacts a business and persuades them to buy a product or service at a discounted price. In order to secure the favourable terms, the scammer requires an upfront payment which you make. Once the payment has been made, you never hear from the scammer again and don’t receive anything in return for your money. 

PURCHASE SCAMS

Fraudsters trick online shoppers into thinking they’re dealing with a legitimate organisation when in fact it’s actually a scammer.

Goods are often offered at ‘too good to be true’ prices and the scammer will often request payment in an unusual way, such as via a money transfer service. Once the payment has been made, the seller may demand further payments for taxes or delivery of the goods.

PENSION SCAMS

A scammer may contact you out of the blue, probably via phone, email or text offering a free pension review or to help you secure a higher retirement income.

Many pension scammers can be hard to spot – they’ll come across as being very professional and have a sound knowledge of financial services. They may also claim to be accredited by the Financial Conduct Authority and may have a website and testimonials to help make them appear more credible.

Once they’ve gained your trust, they’ll design an attractive offer to encourage you to transfer your pension pot which could be stolen outright or invested in highly complex structures with high hidden fees and charges.

COURIER CARD SCAMS

We need to amend the heading to say COURIER SCAMS and insert ‘, or large amounts of cash’ at the end of the summary wording so that it reads ‘Scammers pose as a courier sent from the Bank or Police to trick you into handing over your debit or credit card and PIN, or large amounts of cash.

APP SCAMS

Authorised Push Payment (App) scams involve scammers tricking you into authorising a payment to an account that you believe belongs to a legitimate person or organisation but is in fact controlled by a fraudster.

Often scammers carrying out this type of fraud will pretend to be from a legitimate organisation, such as a bank or the Police, and may claim that you need to move your money to a ‘safe account’ because your account has been compromised or ask you to amend the details of an existing regular payment.

It's important you understand the risks of making payments to scammers. Please select the reason for your payment and consider our advice before proceeding.

I've been asked to transfer money unexpectedly Who has asked you to transfer money?

Fraudsters may contact you pretending to be from the Bank, the Police or other organisations you trust and ask you to transfer money to another account.

Remember: A bank or genuine organisation will never contact you out of the blue asking you to move your money to keep it safe.

If this sounds familiar, do not make the payment and end contact with the individual immediately. 
I'm making an investment

Before you make the payment, consider whether this opportunity is genuine.

Scammers will do their homework and make it their business to know as much about you as possible, this doesn't mean the offer is genuine.

Always seek independent advice before you commit to an investment. You can get more guidance on investment scams and check if an organisation is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority at fca.org.uk. If they're not authorised, it's likely to be a scam.

I'm paying for a service or making a purchase Always double check the bank details of the person you’re paying by contacting them on a number you can trust.

Fraudsters can intercept emails and invoices and change payment details. If you send money to a different account than the one you intended it can be very difficult for us to recover it and you may lose your money.

When buying goods or services from someone you don't know consider using your debit card or credit card, or a payment method which offers additional protection against scams, like PayPal or Google Pay.  Only pay for goods and services via bank transfer if you know the person you're paying or are satisfied the business is genuine.
I'm sending money to someone I've never met Always ask yourself how well you truly know the person and how reliable they are.

Dating and romance scams can have a serious financial and emotional effect on victims. The scammer will build a relationship with you before asking you to transfer money due to a personal emergency or to cover travel expenses. Remember, never send money to someone you haven't met in person.

Are you amending payment details?Fraudsters may contact you and

ask you to change details of a saved payee.


Fraudsters may contact you and ask you to change details of a saved payee.

Only change the details if you know the person or business and they have proof that their bank details have recently changed. A simple phone call to the person on a number you trust could protect you from losing your money.
Further information and support Never be pressured into transferring money. If you're unsure, we suggest you take a day or two to think about what's being asked and talk it through with someone you can really trust.

If you think you're the victim of a scam, contact us immediately. If you want more information use the menu above to review further advice about how to stay safe online.