Find out how to protect yourself from the most common types of scams.
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 the FS 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.
- Don’t give access to your device by downloading software or an app from a source you don’t trust. Scammers may be able to view, take control of your device and access your bank account.
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:
- pension and investment scams
- banking and online account scams
- fake FCA emails, letters and phone calls (phishing)
- foreign money transfer scams
- insurance and warranty schemes
- loan fee fraud
- money transfer scams
If you have been scammed
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.
Victim support information
If you have invested in a scam, see our victim support information for support services and organisations that can provide financial advice.