close menu

7 rules to protect yourself from online scams

by 1st Contact | Jun 03, 2014
  • There are a number of online scams doing the rounds at the moment, including some that claim to be from the Home Office itself. Here are seven rules to follow to protect yourself from online scams.
    Immigration

     

    1. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is

      The first rule for protecting yourself from online scams is a universal truth – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If someone tells you that they have a job for you in the UK, can speed up your visa application, want to give you a hefty tax refund or arrange a visa at a reduced rate, chances are they are attempting to scam you.

    2. Never hand over money

      The Home Office will never ask you for money via email, website, telephone, or in person. The same applies to HMRC and other government agencies. Some fraudsters will seem extremely professional and genuine, and promise you an outstanding service at a good price. But they will eventually ask for a deposit or admin fee.

      Do not hand over any money. Be suspicious of anyone who asks you for money, especially if they want cash or ask you to pay using insecure payment methods like a Ukash voucher or Paysafecard, which allow the recipient to remain untraced.

    3. Never give out your personal banking details

      The same applies to giving your personal details online, via email or on the phone. The Home Office will never send you an email request for information; your bank will never ask you to update your personal details through an email link; HMRC will never request your banking details via email.

    4. Double check all email addresses

      Email addresses and website links can often look like the real thing, so it’s important to double check. For instance, you could receive an email from info@gove.taxrefund.co.uk or refund@hmrcgov.hmrc.co.uk/tax, which at first glance might seem perfectly legitimate.

      Don’t open any email that looks suspicious and never click on links supplied in an email. Report the email as spam without opening it. If you are asked to reply to a “free” email account like Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail, it’s definitely not legitimate. Official Home Office email addresses are always in one of two formats:

      – surname@ukba.gsi.gov.uk
      – name.surname@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
      – name.surname@fco.gov.uk
      – xxxxxxxxx@fco.gov.uk

    5. Beware of fake websites

      There are a number of fake websites designed to look like official visa, job agency or tax refund services or agencies. Sometimes the email address you see on the screen of a fake website or email is in a seemingly correct format, but when you click on it, it creates a different address or URL. Always check the actual address on the email you are sending.

      Be suspicious if a supposedly official website looks unprofessional, is poorly written or designed, and does not include information about the organisation.
      As a rule of thumb, official UK government websites always have ‘.gov.uk’ at the end of their website address.

    6. The person on the other end of the phone could be anyone, anywhere

      Scam artists are using the telephone more and more as a means of gaining your trust and stealing your money. They may tell you that they work for the Home Office and that there is a problem with your visa application. They tell you that if you act quickly and pay a penalty, the visa application won’t be cancelled. They may also ask for a deposit as proof that you have enough funds to support yourself in the UK.

      Others might pretend to be from a recruitment agency and try to fool you into believing they have a job offer for you, and then you need only pay the admin fee or visa application fee and everything else will be taken care of. Remember, just because someone sounds genuine, doesn’t mean they are who they say they are.

    7. If in doubt, stop communication

      If you suspect the person on the other end of the line is not who they say they are, ask for a return number so that you can call them back. Then phone the actual agency in question and find out if the number belongs to them. If there is any doubt in your mind, cease communication immediately and report your suspicions to Action Fraud, either on the Action Fraud website, or (if you are in the UK) by phoning 0300 123 2040.

    For bona fide advise and assistance with your UK visa, tax return, tax refund or umbrella company, please visit 1st Contact

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

    • Australia-look-see.png
      Everything you should do on your look-and-see visit to Australia
      Aug 12, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • Porto cityscape
      10 reasons to move to Porto, Portugal
      Jul 29, 2019  |  by John Dunn
    • Oxford-street
      Everything you ever wanted to know about applying for a UK Tier 2 (General) visa
      Jul 18, 2019  |  by John Dunn
    • Australia skyline
      Landed a temporary job Down Under? Get an Australian working holiday visa
      Jul 08, 2019  |  by Guest writer
    • sydney-australia
      Australian visa processing times: How long you’ll wait for approval
      Jun 27, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • British passport and citizenship approved
      British citizenship and indefinite leave to remain: Why you need to know the difference
      Jun 25, 2019  |  by John Dunn
    • seven-corners-image
      The importance of purchasing travel insurance with a Tier 4 UK student visa
      Jun 13, 2019  |  by Guest writer
    • kangaroos
      Two new Aussie visa routes for skilled migrants
      May 23, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • Passport-stamp
      25% of UK spouse visa applications are refused every year – make sure yours isn’t one
      Apr 02, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
    • Mother, daughter and grandmother
      Australia’s new five-year parent visa – another way to bring your parents Down Under
      Apr 01, 2019  |  by Sam Hopwood
     
     

    South Africa

    Cape Town

    Regent Square
    Doncaster Road
    Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120

    Durban

    25 Richefond Circle
    Ridgeside
    Umhlanga 4320 +27 (0) 31 536 8843

    United Kingdom

    Croydon

    One Croydon
    12-16 Addiscombe Road
    Croydon CR0 0XT +44 (0) 20 7759 7514

    Australia

    Melbourne

    9 Yarra Street
    South Yarra
    VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

    Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services Licence issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS Licence number 335 126).

    We use cookies to provide the best website experience for you. Using this website means that you agree to this. How we use cookies.