The Ministry of Justice is issuing a warning to the public after a recent increase in scams where consumers are telephoned or emailed by people falsely claiming to be from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
Scammers trick members of the public by suggesting to the person they’re calling that they could be owed money – often for repayment of bank charges, payment protection insurance (PPI), or a court settlement - but first ask for an upfront payment from the consumer in order to enable them to receive the money.
These callers have no connection with the MoJ, HM Courts & Tribunals Service, or other genuine organisations. Fraudsters have already tricked and harassed some victims into handing over thousands of pounds, only for them to find that the call was a fake.
The MoJ would never contact consumers asking them for personal bank details, or request an up front payment by money transfer.
The MoJ is warning consumers not to pass on personal or financial details to such callers. If you have already done so, contact your bank immediately to stop or check any unauthorised transactions. Do not transfer money unless you are absolutely confident the company is legitimate.
Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly said:“These are callous fraudsters who target people they believe are vulnerable to scams, often seeking out those who might already be struggling with debt. While their frauds are becoming increasingly sophisticated, remember that the Ministry of Justice and other genuine organisations will never approach you asking for financial information or money transfer payments.
“I would urge the public to be on their guard and not to hand over any money until completely confident a company is legitimate, and to contact the authorities immediately if they are concerned. The simple rule remains: if a call like this comes out of nowhere and seems too good to be true, there’s a good chance it could be scam.”
The bogus callers often ask for personal financial information such as bank account details, and consumers are often asked to use electronic money transfer services such as UKash vouchers or Paysafecard to provide an upfront payment.
In several recent cases scams have used the MoJ logo to try and add to the appearance of legitimacy, while web or email addresses seemingly similar to those used by the MoJ have been quoted.
Calls from London phone numbers
Often calls or contact numbers appear to be from London phone numbers, although frequently the contact actually originates from outside the UK. The MoJ is working with Action Fraud, the police and affected money transfer companies to regularly disrupt these scams and close down telephone numbers or email addresses associated with them.
If you believe you have been a victim of this scam please report the matter to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or by using our online reporting tool. We will pass your reports to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau who analyse fraud information with a view to passing it to the police for further investigation.