Look out for these common scams

Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and there’s always a new scheme just around the corner waiting to trick unsuspecting victims into parting with their hard-earned money. Make sure you’re not one of them by being aware of the latest scams and how to spot them.

A quick recap on how to avoid the latest scams

We’re seeing a rise in scams attempting to trick people into parting with sensitive information, which gives criminals easy access to your money. According to the Experian Fraud Index Q4 2022, fraud in the loans space has more than doubled in the last 24 months. To avoid becoming a victim of fraud...

  • Never trust unsolicited communications, including phone calls or emails

  • Never part with sensitive or personal information such as account details or passwords

  • Be wary of requests to move money – banks or any other financial services companies will not ask you do this

  • Don’t click unfamiliar links or open emails, these are usually linked to phishing scams

  • Remember, if a scheme sounds too good to be true, it probably is

  • If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, get in touch with your bank as soon as possible and contact Action Fraud to report it

Stay vigilant to keep your money safe

It’s so easy to make a mistake, but the effects can be catastrophic. Remain suspicious of unsolicited calls, messages and emails at all times to safeguard yourself against scams.

For more information on keeping your money safe, check out our page on how to protect yourself against financial crime or visit Take Five to Stop Fraud.

If you believe you may have been a victim of fraud, please report it to us immediately. Call us on 0344 375 5500 (select option 2) or email our fraud team.

Credit score scams

Credit score scams work like this: criminals ask you for your login details for your credit score account or app. Once they have access, the fraudster can then apply for credit in your name as they have all the information they need to make a legitimate application. They’ll then take the money and leave you paying the debt.

These types of scams are growing in prevalence, and it’s something everyone should be mindful of – particularly those who are looking for loans or who have a poor credit score. So how can you spot a potential credit score scam? Look out for individuals who...

  • Pose as a legitimate company requiring information from you, such as the password to your credit score accounts
  • Offer to provide a copy of your credit report (also known as a credit file) in return for money

Remember: you are legally entitled to a free copy of your credit report. You can get this from each of the three main credit reference agencies.

  • Offer to improve investment opportunities if you give them access to your credit file
  • Promise to improve your credit score if you give them access to your account

Remember: no company can repair your credit score. While credit bureaus can remove inaccurate information at your request, no company is able to remove negative yet accurate elements of your credit history.

Other popular credit score schemes include look-alike websites that scam you into entering your personal information, or fake emails trying to persuade you to click on a link to see your credit score. Stay vigilant by ensuring any website you visit has a secure connection (a padlock next to the URL), and always check email addresses to ensure the email is coming from a legitimate source.

And remember… never give any log in details to anyone. This applies to all online accounts, including credit score accounts such as Credit Club, ClearScore and Credit Karma.

Loan fee fraud

Loan fee fraud is a type of impersonation scam particularly prevalent in the finance industry. According to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), there's been a 26% year-on-year increase in complaints from consumers who'd fallen victim to loan fee fraud, with victims typically losing an average of £260.

If you’re looking into getting a loan, you may be contacted seemingly out of the blue by a loan company telling you they’ll give you the money you need – but you have to pay an upfront fee before receiving the money. Be extremely wary of this as it’s highly likely to be a scam. Once the fee’s paid, you won’t ever receive the expected loan.

Novuna Personal Finance will never request an upfront payment – and other reputable lenders won’t either. If in any doubt at all, check your credit agreement or contact the lender directly before parting with any money.

The FCA's 3-step loan fee fraud checklist could help you to protect yourself:

If you are cold called or emailed, it could be a scam.

If you’re asked to pay an upfront fee, it could be a scam.

If you’re asked to pay quickly or unusually, it could be a scam.

Impersonation scams

Always look out for suspicious calls from ‘reputable’ brands or companies asking you for personal information.

Social engineering scams can be powerful because criminals impersonate those acting in an official capacity, such as a bank employee. They exploit your inherent trust in well-known brands and persuade you to part with important, private information that allows fraudsters to access your financial accounts.

Don’t trust unsolicited calls, emails or messages. A genuine company, such as a bank or other finance provider, will never call you out of nowhere and ask for your PIN, full password or ask you to move money to a different account. You should be the only person to ever use a passcode or activation code – no representative of a reputable company will ever ask you to tell them it.

We are, unfortunately, aware of some fraudsters impersonating Novuna. Please do stay vigilant and keep in mind that we will never:

  • Ask you to reveal sensitive information, such as your account log in details
  • Ask you to move money from one account to another
  • Request an upfront payment to release your funds
  • Pressure you to make an important decision regarding your application or agreement with us

Investment scams

Investment scams are on the rise as individuals look for ways to make extra money quickly. We’re all feeling the squeeze of the cost-of-living crisis, and scammers are using this vulnerability to pressure people into ‘investing’.

Worse, people are being scammed into taking out a loan to fund these investments. The scammer takes the money and you never hear from them again, let alone get your money back. Yet you’re left paying off a loan for potentially years to come.

Unfortunately, these scams are particularly nasty given that you’re not technically a victim of fraud if you fall for them. You took out a loan willingly, and handed the money over willingly, so you may find it much harder to retrieve the stolen money.

Someone telling you they’ll double, triple or quadruple your money for next to nothing sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? It most likely is.
Does something sound too good to be true? It usually is.

Cryptocurrency scams

Over £300 million was lost to cryptocurrency fraud in the past year alone. Cryptocurrency is designed to be exchanged and traded just like traditional currencies. As more people invest in cryptocurrencies, criminals have seen this opportunity as an easy way to commit fraud. Criminals use social media to advertise cryptocurrency schemes with high returns. The ads often offer easy money quickly to get your personal information or money.

Be wary of any adverts promising high returns from investments in crypto assets. Fraudsters will go to great lengths to convince you they are not a scam. But just because they have a professional-looking website or reviews from 'high net worth' investors, doesn't mean it’s genuine.

If you are considering investing in cryptocurrency, make sure you take your time and do your research before parting with any money. Consult with a financial advisor, who is accredited by the Financial Conduct Authority, to ensure you are investing your money wisely. Always check their credentials on the FCA register to make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate, authorised company.

Romance fraud

Fraudsters may try to trick victims into believing they are in a relationship to gain access to money or personal information. 

Criminals will typically create fake profiles, which can't immediately be caught out given the scammer will never meet their victims in person. The scammer will seem attentive and interested, asking lots of personal questions (and perhaps avoiding answering too many about themselves). Once they've built your trust, they'll ask for financial help, take off with the money and you'll likely never hear from them again. 

UK Finance reported a recent 29% jump in romance scams so it's important to be vigilant. Be extremely wary if someone you meet online refuses to meet, tries to build a fast-moving online relationship with you, regularly mentions financial troubles or seems to avoid answering personal questions.

  • Never send or receive money from someone you've only met online - and never take out a loan to help them financially
  • Don't share personal information such as your full name, date of birth or address with someone online (particularly if you haven't met in person)
  • Choose your dating site user name carefully, so it doesn't give away any personal details
  • Avoid interacting away from the dating website's secure messaging service unless you are sure the person is legitimate and trustworthy
  • Look for inconsistencies in their messages or answers. Scammers may forget small details
  • Ask personal questions only a real person would feel comfortable answering, such as where they grew up or what their school was like
  • Talk to someone you trust to seek their opinion. If you suspect something's not right, it usually isn't
  • Cross-check dating profiles by searching their name or looking them up on social media
  • Stop communicating with the person straight away if you suspect they are a scammer

Spotting fraud is becoming increasingly difficult but we're here to help. Visit our fraud and security page for more information on ways to protect yourself from fraud and what to do if you have been the victim of a scam.

For more information or assistance, please contact our fraud team here.