Beware of ‘follow-on’ scams
Over 17,000 people a year fall victim to a second fraud or scam after the first one.
Criminals use the information shared through previous scams – like name, address and card details. They do this to make you believe they’re real.
We're aware that there's been a spate of these linked to purchases made through fake Wilko social media adverts, but information can come from other sources.
Criminals may pretend to be a bank or the police. There are a few different things they might ask you to do.
- Asking you to move your money to keep it safe.
- Asking you to withdraw cash or buy goods. Then hand these over to someone to assist with an investigation.
- Telling you they can help you get back money lost to fraud.
Criminals can make their calls, emails or texts look like they are from someone else, like your bank.
They can make a fake text appear next to other genuine texts. Call back using a phone number you know is genuine, like one on their website.
Keep yourself safe
- Never move money out of your account for security reasons. Criminals may say that your account is at risk and to keep your money safe you need to move it to a new account. If this happens, it’s always a scam.
- A genuine organisation won’t rush you in to taking action. Take time to double-check what you're being asked to do before moving your money. You can use a publicly available phone number.
- Always be honest with the reason for your payment. This is so we can help protect you.
Last year, people in the UK lost £31.3m in romance scams. Criminals target people through dating sites and social media. They build up a relationship or friendship over time. Then, once they have a connection with you, they'll ask you to send money to them. And they'll always have a good-sounding reason. These are phrases we've seen used by criminals in actual scams:
"My account's frozen, and I can't access my money"
"I'm working overseas"
"I'm working on an oil rig“
"I've been arrested"
"My *family member* is sick"
"I’m struggling with medical bills“
New research from Santander shows almost a third (31%) of Brits have been targeted by a romance scammer. More than four in five Brits (83%) who fell victim to a romance scam said it was either the clever language the criminals use, the way they were spoken to, or the intimate conversations they had with the scammer.
Take a look at our new campaign 'Love Hurts'. We’ve teamed up with dating expert and Celebs Go Dating star Anna Williamson. The new campaign takes commonly used phases by scammers and puts them on Love Hurts sweets to help improve public awareness of key warning signs.
There's a rise in the number of fake HMRC emails going around.
These fake emails will try to grab your attention with urgent language or 'too good to be true' offers. The hooks criminals use will vary, but here are some of the common ones:
- tax credit renewals deadline: 31/07/23.
- update your records
- a £460 discount offer under the Energy Bill Support Scheme, but you need to add your card details.
Each email will ask you to click on a link and fill in your personal and financial details. The scammers will use time sensitive scenarios in their emails to make you enter your personal details without thinking.
- HMRC will never send emails about rebates or refunds
- Never click on a link in an unexpected email and enter your details
- You should always contact HMRC to verify any payment request using the number on the gov.uk website or through your online tax account.
Some visitors to Tenerife have reported being targeted on the last few days of their holiday with tempting tech deals.
They’re offered bargain mobile phones, laptops, and iPads by shop owners on the Spanish islands who then distract them as the purchase is going through. As the customer is distracted, the items are overcharged or replaced with a lesser value item.
Before buying something, ask yourself the questions below.
- Does it sound too good to be true? If it is, then it's probably a scam.
- Double-check the amount you've been charged on the payment device when authorising any transaction.
- If your transaction has failed, ask for a receipt to show that it has. You can also check the transaction status in your Mobile Banking app.
Use the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) ScamSmart tool to check if your investment is a scam or not.
All you need to do is answer 4 easy questions and you'll get information on the potential investment and any possible risks. The tool will tell you if the company you're planning to invest with is regulated by the FCA or if there's a risk that it's a clone company.
It's always a good idea to take the time and carry out extra checks on a company before investing. For example, check that the telephone numbers you’ve been given match those registered to the company so you can contact them directly using the genuine number.
Take a look at our spotting fraud and scams page for more information and our tips to protect yourself.
As we feel the effects of higher energy bills, there's also been a rise in cost-of-living scams. Criminals are looking to exploit people by pretending to be energy companies and other trusted organisations.
Criminals are sending customers a link and asking them to sign up for the government's Energy Bills Support Scheme. However, you don't need to apply for the scheme. For more details, visit the Energy Bills Support Scheme page.
Always think about what you’re being asked to do and carry out any checks you need to satisfy yourself that it’s legitimate. If you’re not sure or feel uncomfortable, stop.
Take a look at our spotting fraud and scam page for more information and our top tips to protect yourself.