Almost all firms offering financial services in the UK must be authorised by FCA (Financial Conduct Authority). Check FCA list to find out if a firm or individual is unauthorised.
Don't assume a firm is legitimate just because it doesn't appear on this list. Firms frequently change their names and it may not have been reported to us yet.
You should only deal with financial services firms that have been authorised by FCA.
If you deal with an unauthorised firm, you will not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong.
Beware of fraudsters pretending to be from firms authorised by FCA, as they could be 'clone firms'. If you're cold-called by a financial services firm, always ring them back on the number given on the FS Register.
- Never pay in advance for the promise of a loan
- Never give out personal information if you cannot verify the identity of the person or company contacting you
- Never send money to a person or company if you don't recall taking a loan from them
Loan fee fraud
Have you been asked to pay an upfront fee when applying for a loan or credit? Find out why this may be a scam and how to protect yourself.
FCA are receiving a growing number of reports from consumers who have been asked to pay a fee - usually between £25 and £450 - for a loan or credit that they then never receive.
This is a scam known as 'loan fee fraud' or 'advance fee fraud'.
Spot the warning signs of loan fee fraud:
- You may have made several loan applications online and then been contacted out of the blue by text, email or phone and offered a loan.
- You may be asked to make an upfront payment into a bank account, or transfer money via an unusual method, for example Western Union or iTunes vouchers.
- The scammers may claim that the fee is refundable and will be used as a deposit, administrative fee, insurance or because of bad credit history.
- You may be put under pressure to pay the fee quickly.
- Once the first payment has been made, the scammer might contact you again to ask for more payments before they can give you the loan.
- Even though you make the payments, you never receive the loan.
Protect yourself from scams
There are some general things we should all do to avoid scams:
- Treat all unexpected calls, emails and text messages with caution. Don't assume they're genuine, even if the person seems to know some basic information about you.
- Do not be pressured into acting quickly. A genuine bank or financial services firm won't mind waiting if you want time to think.
- Never give out your bank account or credit card details unless you are certain who you are dealing with.
- If you are buying a financial product such as a loan, insurance, investment or pension, only deal with a FCA-authorised firm - check FCA Register to see if the firm is registered. Always access the Register from FCA website, rather than through links in emails or on a firm's website (it might be part of the scam).
- Double-check the URL and contact details of a firm in case it's a 'clone firm' pretending to be a real firm, such as your bank or a genuine investment firm.
- Check the list of unauthorised firms and individuals FCA have received complaints about. If the firm isn't on that list, don't assume it's legitimate - it may not have been reported to FCA yet.
- Check your bank account and credit card statements regularly.
If you suspect that a clone firm or any other unauthorized firm have contacted you and tried to obtain personal details please contact the Financial Conduct Authority consumer helpline at 0800 111 6768 if you have any questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WARNING: SCAM ALERT
Please be aware that fraudsters are sending scam email using our FCA authorised firm and our office address to try to convince people to give them personal details and upfront fees to obtain loan deals.
YOU MUST NOT MAKE ANY PAYMENT or share your personal details.
ADV FINANCE LTD t/a FinancialNeeds is a credit broker and not a lender. Our service is entirely free of charge.
We do not charge you fees or insurance costs for the services provided and we do not require any credit/debit card details to all our clients. Any request for payment in our name is a scam, please do not pay it.
If you suspect that a clone firm or any other unauthorized firm have contacted you and tried to obtain personal details please contact the Financial Conduct Authority consumer helpline at 0800 111 6768 if you have any questions please email us at email@example.com