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How To Avoid Debt Advice Scams

With the demand for debt advice continuing to rise amid the cost of living crisis, it’s important to make sure that you do due diligence and properly investigate any debt management service that you seek out for guidance so you can be assured that they’re above board, reputable and trustworthy.

Unfortunately, it may well be the case that this crisis is now leading to an increase in debt advice scammers who are seeking to take advantage of people when they’re at their most vulnerable.

Debt charity StepChange, for example, has been impersonated in the past (1) by nefarious companies, with people being sent messages and phone calls from clone firms such as these. 

It’s not just phishing emails that are being sent out, as there may also be texts and instant messages appearing to come from organisations who have not in fact sent them.  It is therefore important to remain vigilant, even if the messages do seem genuine.

Scams are incredibly sophisticated these days and it’s also important to make sure that you’re cautious when seeking debt help services out, as it may not be immediately obvious from the website that you’ve stumbled across a fraudulent company.

If you’re worried about a firm, you can always verify their credentials with the Financial Conduct Authority via its Financial Services Register (2). This will let you know if a company or individual is authorised, which can give you greater peace of mind.

Personal information should only be supplied if you’re satisfied you’re speaking with a reputable firm. 

If you do receive a phone call or text message from someone asking for your online banking password, to authorise payments from your account or to carry out test transactions, end the call immediately and make sure that the line has been disconnected properly.

Another key giveaway to look out for is poor spelling and grammar. Any legitimate messages from reputable sources will have been proofread thoroughly before being signed off and sent out, so this is a good sign that you’ve been contacted by a potential fraudster.

If you have even the smallest of doubts about who you’re dealing with, never hand over any personal information until you’ve had a chance to step away and do some research. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and you can always get back in touch with them yourself if you do find that they’re above board in the end.

Awareness is key in avoiding falling foul of scammers. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to be wary of any unexpected contact and you can also sign up for a call blocking service so cold callers are unable to contact you.

If you do need debt help at the moment, you can get in touch with us here at Fresh Start UK for tailored debt advice.



Money Helper has replaced the Money Advice Service and brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.