Category: Fight Back

Western Union Repay Scammed Money

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the US Postal Inspection Service have been investigating Western Union who are a wire transfer company.

Western Union is often used by fraudsters as payments through Western Union cannot generally be tracked.

Western Union has admitted to aiding and abetting wire fraud and failure to maintain an effective anti-money-laundering programme and agreed to pay $586 million. That money is now being used by DOJ to give refunds to people who were tricked into using Western Union to pay scammers.

Victims of fraud who paid money to scammers via a Western Union wire transfer between 2004 and 2017 could apply for a refund.

There was a limited refund pot and there were thought to be 100,000s of victims, so not everyone got all of their lost money back.

The refund scheme covers any form of wire transfer fraud which involved making a payment via Western Union, so if you sent money to someone who wasn’t who they said they were, or you didn’t get what you were promised in return for a transfer you made, you can apply for a refund.

The process to get a refund did take years altogether but a great many people received all or part of the money scammed from them.

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How to Check A Used Vehicle Before Buying

The starting point is to consider the level of guarantee that you need with a used car. If you need expert assurance that the vehicle is safe and has no serious hidden problems then a main dealer garage would be a good choice, whereas if you are willing to take a risk to get a lower price then buying from a private seller or a car auction may be your choice.

Independent garages, private sellers, eBAY etc all have their advantages and disadvantages for you to consider.

Before you see the vehicle

  1. Ask the seller for the registration number, make and model and MOT test number
  2. Check the details match those of the registration on the DVLA website at
  3. Check the MOT status and history for the vehicle at
  4. Check if the vehicle has been recalled due to a serious safety issue at

When you go to see the vehicle

  1. Ask to see the V5C vehicle registration certificate (‘log book’). Make sure it has a ‘DVL’ watermark and make sure the details in the log book match the details you’ve been given.
  2. Check the vehicle identification number and engine number if possible, to ensure they match the details in the log book.

These checks do not guarantee any vehicle is safe but they do give some peace of mind and will help you avoid the worst scams and other problems.

The government website at gives detailed advice on what to check and how to get the necessary information when looking to buy a used car.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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How to Improve Your TikTok Family Security

As with other popular social media networks, you need to be careful what you put in your TikTok profile, the various privacy settings, who you allow to see your posts and what you choose to post.

Family Safety Mode

TikTok has a Family Safety Mode to let a parent link their TikTok account to their child’s. Once connected, parents can use the Digital Wellbeing features, which include:

  • Screen Time Management: how long their child can spend on TikTok each day.
  • Direct Messages:who can send message to their child’s account or turn off direct messages completely.
  • Restricted Mode:restrict types of content that isn’t appropriate for a child.

TikTok Security Tips for Families with Children

  • Set Your Child’s Account to Private: On the discoverability page of your child’s TikTok account, set the page to private. This means that people the child doesn’t know won’t be able to read the posts
  • Set Time Limits:  This is part of the “Digital Wellbeing” feature and lets you restrict the total time spent on the APP
  • Set Restricted Mode: This will block any adult content and should have a password set to avoid anyone but you undoing it.
  • Set up Family Pairing: This links all of your family’s accounts so you can see the content and communications with your child.
  • Report Bad Behaviour: Teach your child how to report a user who does something inappropriate or anything considered bullying on TikTok.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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How to Report a Scam

There are endless scams, but they typically fall into a set of categories which determine how and who you can report them to.

Below is the information relating to the UK, but you will need to seek out the relevant contacts if you are in another country.

If you have transferred money to the scammer in the last 24 hours, tell the police immediately by calling 101 or report online at

Generally, the Police prefer non immediate scams to be reported to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at

1.         Report an online scam

This is any scam that uses social media, email or websites.

To report a scam email – forward the message to [email protected].

You should report an online scam advert to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) at

You can also report a scam advert to the website where you saw it.

If the scam involves financial services – cryptocurrency, investments, insurance or pensions, report it to the Financial Conduct Authority at

If you think you’ve been scammed into transferring your pension, contact your pension provider immediately. Then get in touch with The Pensions Advisory Service at

Identity Theft – contact the real company or person to let them know their name is being falsely used.

Any scam using the name HMRC should be reported to them at

2.         Reporting an offline scam

This is usually postal or door-to-door scams and can include telephone and text message scams.

You can report these scams to Citizens Advice Bureau at

Trading Standards gathers information about scams so they can take legal action against scammers.

3. Royal Mail

Royal Mail investigates postal scams. If you’ve received something in the post you think is a scam, download the scam mail report form at

Then send the scam mail and the report to ‘Freepost Scam Mail’ or you can call Royal Mail and ask for a pre-paid envelope and the form. You can just email Royal Mail if appropriate.

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0800 011 3466

4 Action Fraud

Action Fraud collect scam reports and collate the data and where relevant give the information to the Police or other authorities to follow-up on criminal behaviour.

They can get the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to investigate some scams. They’ll also give you a crime reference number, which can be helpful if you need to tell your bank you’ve been scammed.

It’s quickest to report a scam to Action Fraud online at  but you can also report the scam by phone on 0300 123 2040

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Take Five To Stop Fraud

Financial Fraud Action UK is part of UK Finance and is responsible for leading the collective fight against financial fraud on behalf of the UK payments industry. The membership includes banks, credit, debit and charge card issuers, and card payment acquirers in the UK.

They provide a forum for members to work together on non-competitive issues relating to financial fraud. The  primary function is to facilitate collaborative activity between industry participants and with other partners committed to fighting fraud.

The Government believe  encouraging people to take a moment to stop and think can make a difference.

Many people may already know the dos and don’ts of financial fraud- that no-one should ever ask them for their PIN or full password, or ever make them feel pressured into moving money to a ‘safe account’. But, it can be easy to forget this when in a hurry.

After all, trusting people on their word is something everyone tends to do instinctively. If someone says they’re from your bank or a trusted organisation, why wouldn’t you believe them?

Take Five is a national awareness campaign led by FFA UK backed by the Government and delivered with and through a range of partners in the UK payments industry, financial services firms, law enforcement agencies and others.

It urges you to stop and consider whether the situation is genuine – to stop and think if what you’re being told really makes sense.

What FFA UK does

  • Sponsor the Dedicated Card and Payments Crime Unit, an operational police unit, with a national remit.
  • Manage the Industry Strategic Threat Management Process, which provides an up-to-the-minute picture of the threat landscape.
  • Deliver UK-wide awareness campaigns to inform customers about threats and how to stay safe.
  • Manage intelligence-sharing through the industry fraud intelligence hub (Financial Fraud Bureau) and the Fraud Intelligence Sharing System (FISS) which feeds intelligence to police and other agencies in support of law enforcement activity.
  • Inform commentators and policy-makers through a press office and public affairs function.
  • Provide expert security assessments of new technology, as well as the impact of new legislation and regulation.
  • Publish the official fraud losses for the UK payments industry, as well as acting as the definitive source of industry fraud statistics and data.

All of this sounds useful in the fight against fraud.

Take care.

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Mumsnet On The Fight Back Against Scammers

A survey by Mumsnet showed that nearly half of answering the surveyed are worried about becoming a victim of fraud and ninety percent are not confident they can identify criminal tactics like vishing (making phone calls claiming to be from a reputable company but really seeking confidential information) and smishing (same as vishing but by text message).

More than a third of mums say they are approached up to SIX TIMES PER WEEK by individuals trying to get personal information from them. These approaches are by telephone, email and text messages.

To help tackle the problem, Mumsnet and the “Take Five to Stop Fraud” campaign – a national campaign that offers advice to help consumers prevent financial fraud – have teamed up to help parents confidently challenge criminals out to obtain personal information.

Well Known Scams

Here are some examples of well-known​ ​scams you should be aware of (according to Mumsnet):-

  1. An email from HMRC offering a refund
  2. A call from your bank about fraud asking you to move your money to a safe account
  3. An email from a foreign prince offering untold riches if money is transferred to them now
  4. A message from WhatsApp asking you to input financial information in order to continue to use the service
  5. A call from a broadband provider to say the internet connection is running slow and their engineer can ‘fix’ the problem by taking control of your computer
  6. An email from Amazon asking you to disclose personal information to reactivate your account
  7. A text message offering money off at a supermarket if a link in the message is clicked on
  8. A call from a builder or contractor asking for money to be paid directly to a new bank account
  9. An email from your utility provider offering a refund
  10. A student loans company email stating loans have been suspended due to incomplete student information

Take the time to stop and think before handing over personal information and certainly before paying online for anything.

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