Find out why you should be wary if you’re called out of the blue and told you’re owed a refund for mis-selling of PPI.
We are aware that people are being contacted out of the blue by phone, email or text message, and told they are owed a refund for mis-sold PPI. The refund promised is usually several thousand pounds.
But if you’re asked to make a payment so that the money can be ‘released’, this is a scam that is sometimes called ‘advance fee fraud’.
How the scam works
You may be called out of the blue or after entering your phone number on a website form. You might also be contacted by email or a text message.
The scammers may claim to be from the FCA, Claims Management Regulator or Ministry of Justice, and sometimes send fake documents or letters that appear to be from these organisations.
They may also claim to work for an authorised claims company and use the name or other details of one, to make their approach seem genuine.
You will be told that you’re owed a refund for mis-selling of PPI, and perhaps that it will be delivered in person to your home address.
You will then be asked to make a payment, so that the refund can be ‘approved’ or the money ‘released’. This is often about 10% of the amount the scammers claim you’re owed in the refund. Alternatively, to avoid the upfront payment you may be asked to take out a life insurance policy.
Scammers often ask people to make the payment by purchasing a voucher – such as Ukash vouchers, iTunes gift cards or a Paysafecard – and calling them back to give the voucher code numbers. This helps them claim the money without it being traced.
They might also ask you to make the payment directly into a bank account, or using a money transfer company like Western Union or the Post Office’s Moneygram service.
If you make a payment or take out a life insurance policy, the scammers will often contact you again to ask for further payments before the alleged refund can be released.
Step 1: Be suspicious of unexpected calls, especially if you’re asked to make an up-front payment or to give your bank account details.
The safest thing to do is hang up.
Step 2: Avoid making a payment to a company or person that contacts you out of the blue, especially if you’re asked to purchase a voucher, pay directly into a bank account or use a money transfer company.
Step 3: Check if a claims company is authorised on the Authorised Business Register from the Claims Management Regulator (which is part of the Ministry of Justice).
But be aware that scammers sometimes pretend to be from authorised claims companies, and give out the details that a genuine company has on the Authorised Business Register.
Step 4: Look for signs that a phone call, text message or email may not be genuine, such as a mobile or overseas phone number, or an email address from a hotmail or gmail account.
Scam emails and letters often contain spelling mistakes and poor grammar.
Step 5: Keep in mind that the FCA, Claims Management Regulator and Ministry of Justice would never contact members of the public asking for money or bank account details.
Report a scam
If you think you have been approached by scammers, including about a PPI refund, you should report it to Action Fraud.
If you think you might have been scammed, stop sending money to the company and individuals involved straight away.
If you have given them your bank account details, tell your bank immediately.