Fraudsters like to play on any vulnerabilities that they can find. Whether that’s age, inexperience or being in new surroundings, they will try to adapt their scams to take advantage of any situation.
This was no more evident than recently, when a new scam saw conmen pretend to be from the Home Office and offer fake National ID Cards to victims. To make sure you don’t fall for a scam like this or anything similar when moving to the UK, we’re going to take you through what to look out for.
National ID card scam
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s (NFIB) are warning that victims are being contacted by fraudsters claiming that they are from the Home Office and offering them a National ID Card for Commonwealth Citizenship. These cards are being sold to victims for between £150 and £300.
Don’t be alarmed if you’ve never heard of this ID card before, as no scheme actually exists and the card offers no guarantee that you’ll stay in the UK. The conmen are targeting their victims via email, telephone, or letter.
If you receive any unexpected correspondence that claims to be from the Home Office, be cautious. The real Home Office will never get in touch with you and ask you for money or personal details. When approached with something that you’ve never heard of before (like this National ID card), do your research first through official websites like the UK government site.
This is not the first time conmen have used the Home Office to try and trick people into handing over their money. Here are a few other scams you should be aware of:
When looking for work in the UK, be on the lookout for any recruitment scams. A common scam can see you approached by recruiters to apply for a job that doesn’t actually exist. If you apply, you are then told that you got the job and asked to pay visa and work permit fees. This is of course just a con, and as a result you’ll end up out of pocket and without a job prospect.
You can read more about how not to fall for a recruitment scam in our blog.
Visas can be a common feature in many scams, and tend to be included in a number of different ones. You should be careful of:
• Someone claiming to be from the Home Office that asks to come to your home in order to collect payment to process a visa application. The Home Office will never go to your home and collect money.
• Anyone who targets you as a visa applicant. It’s common to be asked to pay a deposit to prove that you will be able to financially support yourself in the UK until your first pay cheque comes in.
• Any phone calls that you receive from people claiming to work for the Home Office, telling you that there is a serious problem with your visa.
• Anyone that tells you that they can speed up the visa application process or get you a visa using forged documents. The same goes for anyone claiming to be a visa officer outside of the UK that offers to meet you outside of their offices – employees of the Home Office will never do this.
Another tactic is to set up fake websites designed to look like the Government website or its official visa enquiry services. The aim of this is to dupe you into paying for services that are either free or cheaper when going through direct avenues. To spot a fake website look out for any spelling mistakes or notices that state that they’re not affiliated with an official body. You should also check that www.gov.uk is included in the web address.
For more information on copycat websites, read our blog.