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Advance fee scams

When fake companies ask for an upfront fee and then don’t provide the service you’ve paid for. 

How it could happen to you

  • Be cautious of competitions or adverts on social media that ask you to pay to enter. You may even enter a genuine competition and then be contacted by a scammer to tell you you’ve won, but need to pay a fee to get your prize
  • You're looking for a loan and are asked to pay an admin fee to secure the loan. You may also receive an unexpected call to say that you've inherited money from a long-lost relative but you need to pay a fee to secure your sum of money or the estate. The scammer might say that the fee is refundable and will be used as a deposit or an administrative charge
  • Rogue traders may knock on your door and try to convince you that your roof needs fixing. They may even appear to do some of the work, but only move around a few tiles. Then, the bills start coming in and the amount of money they’re asking for increases

Stop. Challenge. Protect.

  • Always query requests to pay for goods or services you haven’t ordered or are unaware of, especially if you’ve had to pay fees upfront
  • If you’ve been contacted by someone claiming to be from a company, always phone back on a number you know to be correct
  • It’s extremely unlikely that you’ve won a lottery or competition that you haven’t entered, especially one asking for an upfront fee
  • If you’re paying a trader, check them out by reading reviews online and speaking to someone you trust first

Impersonation scams

When someone pretends to be the police, a bank, a friend or business, to convince you to send them money. 

Investment scams

When you’re invited to invest in things that are worthless, or don’t exist.

Purchase scams

When fake or non-existent items are advertised for sale.

Invoice scams

When account details on an invoice are changed, or emails are intercepted, so the money is wrongly paid into the scammer’s account.

Romance scams

When someone pretends to be interested in a romantic relationship with you. They gain your trust and then ask for money.

Money mules

When you let someone put money into your account, which you then transfer on. You may be told you can keep some of the money for yourself. 

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How to report fraud

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Get in touch with us right away if you think you’ve seen suspicious activity on your account. Here you’ll find the numbers you need, the next steps to take and what we’ll do to help. 

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Take Five is led by UK Finance and backed by the Government and other organisations. If you receive a phone call, text or email you think might be fake, it urges you to stop – take five – and challenge what you’re told.

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