We are all accustomed to paying for goods before they arrive, unfortunately fraudsters know this and are always looking for ways to scam people into paying for non-existent goods and services. According to Financial Conduct Authority, in 2017, over £3.5 million was lost to advance fee fraud for loans alone, sufficed to say none of the victims received a loan for their monies.
The Most Common Advance Fees Scams
Clairvoyant or Physic Scams
The fraudster may approach the victim by telephone, post, email or even face-to-face telling you that they can access what will happen in your future. Some go further saying your future is heading in an uncertain direction and can offer a solution to your life’s woe’s, in return, a fee needs to be paid for their service. Typically, once payment has been made the person will be untraceable and your money gone.
Lottery/prize draw and sweepstake scams
The victim receives a letter or email saying that they have won the jackpot in the lottery. The letter states that to claim, you need to contact a lottery official who will process your winnings. They will take you through a seemingly legitimate process, document checks, bank verification, identity checks etc. The fraudsters now have everything they need to steal your identity along with potential access to your bank account.
Victims are often targeted while searching online for loans and are offered a fast loan that does not require credit history or any verifications. Fraudsters prey on the vulnerabilities and financial fears of their victims. The “only” thing required is an upfront fee to cover administration fees, processing or insurance. Once payment has been made victims are continually persuaded to pay more fees. When the victim starts trying to find out why there is a delay etc. the company becomes very hard to contact and the money has disappeared.
How to avoid becoming a victim of advance fee fraud
- Don’t – respond to competitions, especially if you haven’t entered any!
- Never – reveal your bank account information to anyone
- Never – pay advanced fee’s to claims prizes
- Go to – your bank and they will tell you how to secure safe loans
- Destroy – letters or emails advertising loans, lottery winnings or physic appointments
- Hang up – cold callers offering you loans, claims of winning a competition or calls to update your bank account profile
- Still Unsure – call Reassura 0800 888 6400 and one of our fraud advisor’s will help you in the fight against advance fee fraud.
What to do if you suspect you have been a victim of advance fee fraud
- Contact ActionFraud to report the crime and get a Crime Reference Number.
- If you have made any payment with your credit card contact your credit card provider’s fraud department.
- If you paid by debit card, contact your bank.
- If you’re worried about identity fraud contact CIFAS
Reassura is dedicated to helping raise awareness of scams and fraud and the impact they have on their victims. Reassura’s team of specialist anti-fraud advisors are on-hand to offer advice designed to help individuals make better informed decisions and avoid the unpleasant consequences of becoming a victim. For further information visit: https://reassura.com or call 0800 888 6400