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Offers that sound too good to be true

Fraudsters may pretend to offer really great deals and get-rich-quick schemes. 

You can protect yourself from this sort of fraud by knowing the warning signs, and what you can do about them.

Investing can be a great way to make money. But fraudsters may offer you fake investments. You need to be able to spot the scammers to keep your cash safe.

What to look out for:

  • You’re contacted unexpectedly - Fraudsters will call or email to gain your trust and convince you to invest your money.
  • Common investment scams - Scam investments are often for precious gems or metals, wine, land abroad, cryptocurrencies or energy.
  • The caller knows a lot about you - Scammers do lots of research before calling, so they might already know some details about your financial arrangements.
  • The caller puts you under pressure - They might tell you that you'll lose the deal if you don't act straight away, but actually they're trying to get you to send money quickly. No deal is worth the risk of getting scammed. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • You’re asked to keep the investment secret - If you’re being asked to keep the investment a secret it’s likely to be a scam.

What you can do:

  • Think before you decide - Take your time checking the investment is genuine and that it’s something you want to do. 
  • Get advice - Friends, family, and independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) can give you advice on getting the most out of your money. The FCA (the Financial Conduct Authority) also has some great advice pages on how to spot scams. Take some time to read their advice before you decide to invest.
  • Check with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) - You can use the FCA website to check if the investment company is on their register. Companies can only sell stocks and shares in the UK if they're registered with the FCA.

You might fill out an online competition or quiz to win a prize or have a bit of fun. But scammers can also use these to get personal details from your answers. They then may sell these details or add you to a fraudster’s contact list.

What to look out for:

  • You’re asked to send money to claim a prize for a competition you’ve not entered - If you’re told you’ve won a prize for a competition you’ve not entered and have been asked to send money to claim it, don’t. This is a scam. Especially, if the competition is based abroad.
  • The quiz is on social media or in an email - Scammers spread fake competitions and quizzes by email and on social media. It might seem safe because a friend has shared it but remember, they might be getting scammed too. 
  • You’re asked to give personal or financial information - Never give any details about your bank accounts. Be cautious if you’re asked to give your address or contact details. 
  • You’re asked to sign in through your social media -- by signing in through social media you may give out personal information that could be used for identity theft. You'll need to decide if you're happy to share these details.
  • You’re taken to an unknown website - Scammers will try to take you away from safe websites, so that they're less likely to get caught.

What you can do:

  • Set up a special email address - If you want to take part in quizzes and competitions set up a special email address for them. This means scammers won't be able to start sending emails that pretend to be from your bank or other companies to your main email address.
  • Make sure your quiz answers aren’t the same as your passwords - Scammers will use your quiz answers to try to log onto your accounts.
  • Protect your device - Make sure you have an anti-virus and that your operating system, browser and software are up to date. Your anti-virus software should tell you when a site is unsafe to visit or if you shouldn’t open a file.
  • Stay on well-known websites - Check that you're on a genuine website by looking carefully at the web address and making sure there are no spelling mistakes.
  • Check for the closed padlock - The most secure sites have a closed padlock in the address bar, and https:// at the beginning of the web address*. 

*The closed padlock / https:// only tells you that the link between you and the website owner is secure, and not that the site itself is real. You'll still need to check the web address carefully for spellings mistakes, additional words and characters.

Criminals may try to convince you to use your bank account to move money for the criminal. If this money came from illegal activity then this is likely to be a crime, even if you didn’t know you were doing something wrong.  This is called ‘money laundering’ or ‘money muling’.

What to look out for:

  • You’re asked to move money - Fraudsters advertise fake jobs that can often be carried out from home moving money between accounts. In fact, you may be moving money for criminals without even knowing.

What you can do:

  • Never use your own account to move someone else's money - If you're asked to use your own bank account to move a company’s money, stop. A genuine job won’t ask you to do this. Never use a bank account that’s in another person’s name, no matter what your new ‘boss’ tells you.
  • Never share your Internet Banking user ID and password with an employer - There is no legal reason that they would ever need to have this, no matter what they tell you.
  • Make sure you’re not ‘money muling’ - Don't agree to a job where you are sent payments and are 'paid' by keeping some of it whilst forwarding the rest to different accounts.
  • Don’t be tempted - Money laundering is a serious criminal offence even if you didn’t know you were doing it. You can go to jail for up to 14 years. And many banks will be unlikely to let you open accounts with them or borrow money in future.
  • If someone knows your Internet Banking passwords or has used your Internet Banking account without your permission
  • If money has fraudulently left your Lloyds Bank Internet Banking account
  • If you or someone you know has used a Lloyds Bank account to move someone else’s money

Report it to us

0800 917 7017 (or +44 207 4812614). Lines are open 24 hours a day.

If you have a hearing or speech impairment, you can contact us 24/7 using the Next Generation Text (BGT) Service. If you’re Deaf and a BSL user, you can use the SignVideo service.

For any other issues that you think may be related to fraud please call Action Fraud:

0300 123 2040

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am-6pm. Text phone users can ring 0300 123 2050.

They’ll be able to log the incident and provide you with a Crime Reference number if needed. Action Fraud collects data from across the UK to help banks and other businesses combat fraud.