Common scams

Learn about the most common types of scams and what to do when someone is trying to trick you

Advanced Fee Fraud/Lottery Scams

Fraudsters will contact you and offer you a large sum of money, often a lottery winning or an inheritance and ask you to pay a small up front fee to claim the money. Once the money is paid you will not receive anything in return.

Things to watch out for:

  • Offers that sounds too good to be true.

  • They create an urgency to act promptly.

  • Don't give you enough time to think it through or even advise that the offer is only for you and should not be discussed with anyone.

Money Mules

Fraudsters can also use you to move their stolen or illegally obtained money through your account. These fraudsters are known as 'Money mules' or 'Money transfer agents'.

Things to watch out for:

  • Job advertisements offering a chance to earn easy money for a few hours work per week.

  • They'll use your account to deposit money and then transfer elsewhere or withdraw it in cash and offer to pay you for doing so.

Quick tips to stay safe:

  • Don't use or allow someone to use your bank account to move money for others.

  • Remember

    • Even if you don't know how the money has been obtained, handling this type of money is a crime.

    • You may be held responsible for this activity and may be prosecuted.

Dating/Romance Scams

Fraudsters take advantage of people looking for partners on dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on your emotions and obtain money, expensive gifts or your full personal and/or financial information.

Things to watch out for:

  • Just after a few conversations someone expresses strong feelings for you, and ask to chat with you privately using email or phone.

  • Asks lots of personal questions about you but tells you very little about themselves.

  • Always have an excuse for why they can't meet you in person.

  • Once the trust has been built, they will tell you they are having some problems (such as a sick relative) and ask you to send some money to help.

  • Using your emotional triggers they'll keep asking for more money or gifts.

Quick tips to stay safe:

  • Always check out if their profile is consistent with what they tell you. Use Google reverse image search to know if their picture is fake.

  • Don't send money to someone whom you don't know, especially when you've met only online.

  • Never give your personal details, financial details or important personal documents to anyone you don’t know.

Pension Scams

Fraudsters will contact you to offer pension investment opportunities to help you release cash from your pension early by investing in unregulated or bogus schemes.

Be cautious if anyone claims you can cash in your pension before the age of 55 it is likely to be a scam.

Things to watch out for:

  • If you receive an unexpected call or email about your pension offering you a free pension review.

  • Offers to take your money from your pension and invest in a bogus scheme promising higher returns.

  • Don't provide you with any advice on tax implications.

Quick tips to stay safe:

  • Never be rushed to make a pension transfer without carefully considering, do full research.

  • Always take advice from a independent financial adviser, registered with Financial Conduct Authority.

Investment Scams

Fraudsters will approach you as a sales person asking you to invest in shares, plots of land, gold, carbon credits, wine or other investments. They promise you a high return on your money or tax-free benefits but often they are either worthless or of very little value.

Things to watch out for:

  • If you receive an unexpected call or email offering you a very high return investment opportunity.

  • Create an urgency to act, saying the offer or opportunity is available only for a limited time.

  • Don't explain to you fully the risks of the investment.

  • They may call repeatedly and sometimes advise you not to tell anyone, as the offer is only for you.

Quick Tips to stay safe:

  • Never make any investment decision without careful consideration, do full research.

  • Always take advice from an independent financial adviser, registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.

Rogue Traders/Door step crimes

Fraudsters pose as professional sales men and knock on your door and try to obtain work from you (such as home repairs, window replacements). Once the money is paid they will never show up or do a very poor job.

Things to watch out for:

  • They often claim that work needs to be addressed soon (such as we've identified your home needs urgent repairs and advise that the repairs need doing immediately).

  • They will pressure you into getting the work done.

  • They will ask for the money to be paid upfront and sometimes in full.

  • Once the money is handed over either they will never show up or do the work to a very low standard.

Quick tips to stay safe:

  • Don't feel pressurised into getting the work done without a second opinion.

  • Always verify the identity of the doorstep seller.

  • Do not hand any money over prior to the work being done.

  • Don't let them escort you to your bank or building society to withdraw the money.

If you believe you have been approached by a rogue trader you should report it to Trading Standards or the Police.

Report Fraud

If you think you've been a victim of fraud or if you suspect fraudulent activity on your account with us please report it to us immediately.

03450 50 50 75 (Lines open 8am - 8pm, 7 days a week)

We may monitor or record our calls for security purposes.

You can also report this to Action fraud on 0300 123 2040 (Lines open 24 hours a day.)

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