Scam of the month

Fraudsters don’t always ask for your money. Emails that are designed to look as though they’re from a ‘household name’ are becoming common. For example, fraudsters using a ‘household name’ are sending emails with a false promise of a refund if they are provided with a person’s bank account details. These ‘household names’ include  H M Revenue & Customs, energy suppliers, high street banks and other well-known organizations. Recipients of these emails are being told that they are due refunds – and to claim these refunds they should click on a link and have their bank details ready, so that the refund can be deposited electronically. Recipients of these messages should always look for any grammatical errors, (common) and anything else that looks suspicious. Don’t click on any links. If in doubt, make separate independent enquiries.


Any suspicious emails should be reported to Action Fraud ( or contact Citizens Advice on 03454040506. To learn more about scams visit web site

Fraud is a multi-billion-pound "industry" which affects people from all walks of life.

From our perspective, millions of older people are believed to have been targeted by scammers and this is likely to be an under-estimate of the real numbers. Unfortunately, the ones most likely to fall victim to fraud are those who live alone with no one to look out for them, or who have dementia.


So, what is a scam?

A scam is a deliberate attempt to obtain information from you, to obtain your personal details - and your money. Stealing personal details such as your date of birth, address, passwords, account numbers, and national insurance number is known I/D fraud, and these details are the route to your bank and credit card accounts.


Scammers use all kinds of methods to gain your confidence, including posing as bank or tax officials or even police officers. Scams are perpetrated by individuals and by organized gangs and contact can be by post, text, email or by home visits.                                               

In the same way that buildings and houses have addresses, so do web pages.  They have a unique address to help people locate them,  known as URL's  (URL stands for Uniform Resource Location)

Always check the URL of the site you’re on when online shopping – scam sites can often look genuine. Always look out for extra full stops and dashes. Scammers will target you with a professional looking advert, and then send you through to a copycat website. Don’t feel rushed into a purchase – be sure to stop and think before you buy and ensure the website you’re ordering from is legitimate. Not using a "link" but instead finding the website yourself would be a good place to start.

And the golden rule is  - if something sounds too good to be true it usually is !!

Also note:-  we are advised that the prime time for scams is midweek and in the afternoon


Scam of the month July 2024

Payment in advance scam.


Also known as an advance fee scam, this is when you’re convinced to pay an upfront fee in order to receive a prize/service, high-value goods or loans which never materialise.


  1. You’re asked to pay an upfront fee to receive money, a prize/service or goods that you weren’t expecting
  2. You’re asked to pay an upfront fee for a training programme or background check for a job that may not exist
  3. You’re told that fees are fully refundable and will be used as a deposit, administrative charge or for insurance
  4. There are follow-up fees you need to pay in order to secure the loan, prize/service or goods
  5. You are put under pressure to pay quickly by wire, bank transfer or cryptocurrency
  6. The domain name doesn’t match that of the sender of the email e.g. 



Leanne* responded to an advert online for a fast loan and her application was approved regardless of her poor credit history. She was asked to pay an administration fee to cover insurance for the loan. But once the fee was paid, there was no further contact from the ‘loan company’ and payment of the loan was never made.


Bernie* was contacted unexpectedly by a ‘lawyer’ from overseas who claimed that a person sharing his last name had left him with an inheritance and that if unclaimed the money would go to the government. He was told that he needed to pay several fees to release his supposed inheritance. He was sent seemingly genuine legal documents to sign. Once the fees were paid, no ‘inheritance’ money was received, and Bernie was unable to contact the ‘lawyer’.


Akhil* was contacted out of the blue and told that he’d won a large amount of money on an overseas lottery he hadn’t entered. He was asked to pay a fee to cover government taxes and courier charges. Once payment had been made, and contact stopped and he received no winnings.


Elsa* received an email informing her that jewellery she wasn’t expecting to receive was held up at customs pending clearance in the United States. She was told that her package wouldn’t be released until the shipping fee was paid. Once the fee was paid, no jewellery was received, and she was unable to contact customs.


After being made redundant the previous week, Marcus* was searching for a job online when he came across an advert on a popular website for a job requiring limited experience with a high salary. Having registered his interest, Marcus received an email that included a link to follow to apply. The application form required Marcus to include his National Insurance number, date of birth and bank account details. Upon completing his application Marcus was asked to call the company to attend a “telephone interview”, not knowing that he was being charged a premium for using the advertised number.

Without any face-to-face meetings with his potential employers Marcus received an email from the recruiter informing him that he had been successful. However, he was asked to urgently pay an upfront fee for a background check before he could receive his job offer. Marcus proceeded to make payment to the bank details provided, desperate to secure his “new role” and unknowing that he had in fact fallen for a scam.

Conveyancing Scams

Trevor* had lots to think about when he was moving house, between packing, sorting out bills and his busy job he was dealing his solicitor over email. He was pleased that things were moving quickly with the new purchase and was unsurprised when he received an email requesting payment of the deposit.

The solicitors advised that they needed the deposit paid in full immediately and that there had been a change to their account details. Trevor went ahead and made the payment. A couple of days later, Trevor called his solicitor. When his solicitor advised that they hadn’t requested payment or changed their account details he realised he’d been scammed as the email he’d received had not come from his genuine solicitor.

*These case studies are based on insights from partners

If think you might have been scammed, contact your bank immediately. You can also report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via