Fraud and scams
From time to time fraudsters try to use the Ministry of Justice identity in an attempt to steal money from consumers. The most common types of scams are detailed below.
If you believe you have been a victim of this scam you should report the matter to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via the website.
Your reports will then be passed on to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and analysed to see if they can be used as part of a police investigation.
You can help to stop scammers by warning your friends and family, and by making Action Fraud aware of any scams that you have encountered.
We are aware of several scams including:
A scam where a telephone caller claims to be calling from a court and tells you that you have only a few days to avoid attending a court hearing and a fine of £5000, but you can avoid this by making a smaller payment to them immediately over the phone. This is not how the UK courts operate.
If a real court hearing was to take place you would be informed formally in writing and given sufficient notice for you to obtain advice before attending. Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service would never make unsolicited phone calls, demand money in advance to prevent a court hearing from taking place, or seek payment through cash vouchers bought in local shops.
A scam involving a telephone call from someone claiming to be from the Ministry of Justice or other government department. These callers usually have strong foreign accents and use fake anglicised names. Consumers are typically told that they are eligible to receive payments such as the repayment of bank charges or tax, compensation for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI), or other debts.
Consumers are asked to provide personal information, such as bank account details and make an upfront payment, often by one of the following methods:
- Money Transfer: Payment can be requested via Western Union or the Post Office’s MoneyGram® service.
- Ukash Vouchers: Consumers are asked to purchase cash vouchers through a local high street shop and use the reference code to send the payment by email or over the telephone. If you have been a victim and paid money via the Ukash voucher scheme, contact UKash immediately on 0808 234 6244 (open 24 hours) to see if the payment can be blocked. For further information see the warnings on the Ukash website.
- Paysafecard: Consumers are asked to purchase payment cards through a local high street shop and use the reference code to send the payment by email or over the telephone. If you have been a victim and paid money via Paysafecard, contact the company immediately on 0845 021 3059 (open 24 hours) to see if the payment can be blocked. For further information see the Paysafecard website.
- Bank Transfer or Debit and Credit Cards: Scammers sometimes ask consumers to provide their bank or card details in order for them to withdraw payment. If you have already given out these details, you should contact your bank or card provider immediately to stop or check any unauthorised transactions.
These callers have no connection with the Ministry of Justice, or other genuine organisations.
They may already have some of your personal data, such as your name, address or bank details and may try to obtain more in order to commit identity theft. Do not pay any money unless you receive formal written information first and are absolutely confident the organisation involved is legitimate. Consumers are warned not to pass on personal or financial details to these callers.
Illegal use of Ministry of Justice identity and logos
In some scams fraudsters may falsely claim to be linked to the Ministry of Justice, or use the official logo or that of one of our agencies as letterhead to add authenticity to obtain bank or credit card details. Similar scams may involve the use of logos from other legitimate organisations, like the Metropolitan Police or the Office of Fair Trading.
In addition to using the logo illegitimately, fraudsters may use an email link to draw any potential victim further into the scam. The email address may appear to be similar to a legitimate Ministry of Justice internet link.
The Ministry of Justice takes seriously any attempt to misappropriate its identity or that of its agencies, associated offices and official logo's and will investigate any such incidents of misuse and take appropriate action where necessary.
Any correspondence, like letters or emails with Ministry of Justice identity that request private information, should be treated with extreme caution. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of such communications, please contact us on 020 3334 3555 or online: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-justice#org-contacts