Protect yourself from scams

Find out how to protect yourself from the most common types of scams.

Coronavirus (Covid-19): A major event like coronavirus can initiate new types of scam activity. Find out about potential scams, how they could affect you, and how to protect yourself.

 

There are some general things we should all do to avoid scams:

  • Treat all unexpected calls, emails and text messages with caution. Don’t assume they’re genuine, even if the person seems to know some basic information about you. 
  • Don’t be pressured into acting quickly. A genuine bank or financial services firm won’t mind waiting if you want time to think. 
  • Never give out your bank account or credit card details unless you are certain who you are dealing with.
  • If you’re buying a financial product such as a loan, insurance, investment or pension, only deal with a FCA-authorised firm – check our Register to see if the firm is registered. Always access the Register from our website, rather than through links in emails or on a firm’s website (it might be part of the scam). 
  • Double-check the URL and contact details of a firm in case it’s a ‘clone firm’ pretending to be a real firm, such as your bank or a genuine investment firm.
  • Check the list of unauthorised firms and individuals we’ve received complaints about. If the firm isn’t on our list, don’t assume it’s legitimate – it may not have been reported to us yet.
  • Check your bank account and credit card statements regularly.

For more advice on the basic steps everyone should take to avoid scams, check out:

If you think you have been scammed, find out how to report it to us.

Common financial scams

Scams are increasingly sophisticated – but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Scammers will usually call you out of the blue, but contact can also come by email, text message, post, word of mouth or at a seminar or exhibition.

Always be wary if you’re contacted unexpectedly, pressured to act quickly or give personal financial details, or promised returns that sound too good to be true. 

If you’re considering an investment, first check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid.

We strongly advise that you get independent professional advice before making any investment.

The most common financial scams targeting the public include:

If you have been scammed

Report it

You can report the firm or scam to us by contacting our Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 or using our reporting form.

For products we don’t regulate or if you’ve lost money in a scam, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their website.

Be wary of future scams

If you have already invested in a scam, fraudsters are likely to target you again or sell your details to other criminals. 

The follow-up scam may be completely separate or related to the previous fraud, such as an offer to get your money back or to buy back the investment after you pay a fee. 

If you have any concerns at all about a potential financial scam, contact us immediately.