How to Report a Financial Scam in the UK

Laura Broad[1]

Laura Broad

Money Savings Advice How to report a financial scam

Scams can take various forms, from convincing looking emails from ‘HMRC’ to dodgy phone calls from call centres claiming to be your bank. They can all be devastating for victims.

Scams are becoming more and more sophisticated. And as the scams get smarter, they get easier to fall for. Being aware of scams, knowing how to spot a scam and how to report a scammer if you think you’ve been targeted are the best ways to keep your money safe.

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Signs You’ve Been Scammed

While scams come in all different shapes and sizes, there are a few clear warning signs that you may have been scammed:

  • Someone you don’t know contacted you out of the blue to discuss your pension
  • You received a text, email or phone call requesting sensitive information
  • The text or email was riddled with spelling mistakes or grammatical errors
  • The website you were sent to is not secure (i.e. starts http:// rather than https://)
  • The company doesn’t have a fixed phone number or postal address
  • The company doesn’t allow you to call them back
  • You were asked for sensitive information such as your passwords or PIN number
  • You were offered free pension advice or a free pension assessment or review
  • You were pressured into making a decision or transferring money quickly

A big red flag should always be if you were offered something that seemed too good to be true. When it comes to anything financial, it often is.

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What to Do if You’ve Been Scammed

Try not to be embarrassed if you’ve been scammed - it can happen to anybody. You should take the following steps to protect yourself from as much damage as possible.

Protect Yourself From Further Harm

The first thing you should do if you’ve been scammed is protect yourself from further harm. If the scammer tries to contact you again, ignore them. Keep a record of every time they try to get back in touch with you for your records.

If you think your password has been stolen, change that password everywhere you use it online. Create a new strong password that’s long, unusual and contains different characters.

If you think a scammer has got hold of your bank details or PIN number, contact your bank straight away. If you transferred money to the scammer in the last 24 hours, call the police on 101. If you feel threatened or in physical danger, call 999 as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Gather Details of the Scam

Collect as much evidence as you can as to what happened. A clear timeline of events will help in any investigation that comes once you report the scam. Gather information like:

  • Who you’ve been in contact with - names, numbers, email addresses, websites
  • What information you’ve shared with them - passwords, bank details, PIN numbers
  • Whether you paid any money to them
  • How you transferred the money, how much you sent and where you sent it to
  • The reasons why you suspect you’ve been scammed

You will also want to check if you can get your money back. If you’ve paid a scammer by bank transfer or direct debit, for example, contact your bank and see if you can get a refund.

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Report the Scam

Once you have your details together, report the scammer to the relevant authorities. This is nothing to be embarrassed about - if the authorities don’t know about it, they can’t do anything about it or take steps to stop someone else being scammed. Don’t stay silent.

How to Report a Scammer

There are a few places you can report a scammer in the UK. The more places you report them, the higher the chance that the scammers can be tracked down and brought to justice.

All Types of Scams or Fraud – Action Fraud

All scams should be reported to Action Fraud. This is the UK's national reporting centre for fraud and is a good place to start when reporting a scammer. From here, Action Fraud can pass your case over to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau who will investigate the scam.

They will give you a crime reference number which can help you track the progress of the investigation and may also help you get some of your money back from your bank.

Financial Scams – FCA ScamSmart

If you’ve been a victim of a scam involving a pension, investment, insurance or dodgy financial advice, the Financial Conduct Authority will want to know about it. Through the FCA’s ScamSmart service you can report any potential scams or unauthorised firms.

Pension Scams – Pensions Advisory Service

If the scam was related to your pension - for example, a pension liberation scam where a company claimed they could get you access to your pension pot before the age of 55 - then you should first contact your pension company directly to make a complaint. You can also report the scam to the Pensions Advisory Service for guidance on what to do next.

Scams or Rip-Offs – Trading Standards (via Citizens Advice)

Citizens Advice can report potential scams and scammers to Trading Standards on your behalf. You can seek advice or guidance from them on what to do next, or simply enter the details of the company you believe to be fraudulent and they will investigate them for you.

Postal Scams – Royal Mail

If you’ve received scam mail through your door - things like fake lottery or prize draw wins that you didn’t enter, get-rich-quick schemes, investment scams or anything where you’re asked to pay upfront for a service - you can report it to Royal Mail.

Email, Phone or Text Scams – National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)

If you’ve received a dodgy email or text that aims to fish out your sensitive data or tries to get you to open a link, forward it onto the National Cyber Security Centre. Phishing texts, emails and phone call scams that are made to look like real HMRC services are common - report any HMRC phishing emails, texts or phone call scam to the HMRC directly.

Quick Mis-Sold Pension FAQs

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How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Mis-Sold Pension Claim?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Financial Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for a mis-sold pension and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Money Savings Advice Author Laura Broad

Laura Broad

Laura is a professional content writer and learning designer, passionate about empowering people through straightforward, jargon-free content. When she's not reading or writing about all things personal finance, you can find her in the gym, barbell in hand.

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