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How To Spot Bailiff & FCA Scams

Over the last few weeks and months, we’ve started to see an increase in calls from our clients concerned about scam communications in the form of text and email from creditors, bailiffs and the Financial Conduct Authority… which, naturally, is very concerning and something that everyone should be on their guard against.

These con artists target people when they’re at their most vulnerable, already potentially facing serious financial difficulties, which means they’re more likely to fall victim to such scams. As such, it’s essential that you know what signs to look out for so you can protect yourself and ensure that you don’t get taken in.

Where county court bailiff scams are concerned, emails are often sent out to force people to make immediate payments, saying that you owe them money. 

This email (which often bears the name ‘John Hutchinson’) is then followed up with a phone call from what looks like an official number. Note that these emails are not genuine and should be ignored and deleted immediately.

Note that county court bailiffs will only pursue debts if a county court judgement has been registered against you – which you can check by having a look at your credit report. They will never phone or send emails asking for money, will never ask you to transfer funds and will never send you prefilled court forms to defend claims.

Other similar scams are also doing the rounds and it can be very difficult to spot a fake, since communication often comes using the names of official employees, bearing official logos and images (which will have just been ripped from official sites). 

All of this is done by design to make you think communications are genuine and they can be incredibly convincing.

You may be asked for personal information, which you should never provide, including bank account details, banking passwords, copies of your passport and driving licence, or even your payslips.

Signs to look out for that indicate you’re dealing with a scammer include phone calls from a mobile or overseas number, emails from Outlook, Gmail or Hotmail accounts, spelling mistakes and poor grammar in communications, and extra punctuation or other small changes in what would otherwise look like official website addresses and social media accounts.

Something else to watch out for is cloned websites. Fraudsters are very adept at copying official sites and changing the information, using links and contact information from the real sites to make them look genuine. Always check the web address in the address bar at the top of the webpage so you can make sure it’s all above board.

As for phone calls, you need to make sure you understand number spoofing, where scam artists make official switchboard numbers from genuine firms appear in your caller ID. Never give out any personal information once you’ve received an incoming call and never call back using the details provided by the caller.

If you believe you may have been contacted by a fraudster or if you’re worried that you’ve given personal information out to a disreputable source, you can report it to the FCA or Action Fraud and ask them for further advice.

If you are struggling with debt at the moment because of cost of living challenges, get in touch with us today to find out more about our debt help services, where we can provide you with independent 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.