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 use you to move their stolen or illegally obtained money through your account. You would be known as a 'money mule' if you allow someone to use your account to launder money.

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.

  • Never give your financial details to someone you don't know or trust

  • 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 asks 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.

  • 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.

Courier/Safe Account Scams

Fraudsters may contact you pretending to be from your bank/building society or the police claiming that there is an issue with your bank account. They may tell you that it is at risk or request that you help them with an ongoing investigation. Their aim is to trick you into handing over money or high value goods, re-assuring you that you will be reimbursed. They will either arrange for a courier to collect the money/goods or ask you to transfer money into a ‘safe account’.

Things to watch out for:

  • They often claim that the investigation involves corrupt employees at the bank/building society or police officers, and ask for your help with their investigation.

  • They ask you to carry out a task such as; withdrawing a large amount of cash or foreign currency, purchasing high value items (e.g. a watch) or provide bank card details over the phone including your pin number, and then arrange for a courier to come and collect the monies, items or your bank cards.

  • They may ask you to transfer money into a ‘safe account’ and provide you with the details advising you that this has been set up in your name.

  • They will advise you not to tell anyone about the call as you are part of an undercover investigation and they may give you a cover story to tell the cashiers e.g. the money is to be used for a holiday.

Quick Tips to stay safe:

  • Be wary of unsolicited phone calls from the police and/or your bank/building society requesting personal information.

  • If you receive a call like this, terminate the call. You can ring the police back using 101 or ring your bank/building society back by using a telephone number on their website or bank card. Ideally you should ring them back using a different phone line or mobile.

  • Never hand money or items over on the back of an unexpected phone call. Your bank/building society or the police will never ask you to withdraw money or buy items on their behalf.

  • Never share your personal details with anyone. Your bank/building society or the police will never ask you to provide them with your PIN number.

Remote Access Scams

Fraudsters will try and gain access to your PC/device as it will contain lots of personal information which they can use. They often do this via telephone, purporting to be from your internet provider and advising you that there is a problem with your internet which they need to fix. They will advise you that they need to access your PC remotely and may ask you to visit a website or open a link/attachment, which then gives them full access to your PC. They then may ask you to log into some of your online account profiles, which they can then take control of. The fraudster can be on the phone to you for over an hour!

Quick tips to stay safe

  • If you receive a call like this, terminate the call. A genuine provider would never call you out of the blue regarding issues with your PC.

  • Do not let anyone have access to your device, especially remotely.

  • Do not click on any suspicious links or open any attachments.

  • Use anti-virus software on your device.

  • If you have let someone remotely access your PC, report it immediately.

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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