When it comes to money scams, there’s nothing fraudsters won’t try. Bonds and ISAs are no exception and can be used to lure people into a false sense of security, sometimes with too-good-to-be-true deals boasting high returns.
How are they trying to catch people out?
If you ever find yourself asking ‘what’s the catch?’, it might be best to slow down and dig deeper into the offer and where it’s coming from. Here are a few ways fraudsters are hoping to catch people these days.
- Dummy company websites are being used to advertise investment and savings products like bonds and ISAs
- Fake comparison websites are also on the rise with the intention of grabbing your details from you
- Fraudulent ads, bought by criminals, can show up on search engines linking to fake sites. They can even appear right at the top of the results page.
- Phishing emails are another way of directing you to a fake website, or pulling you into a conversation where the scammer can get more information from you.
What happens if I click on one of these sites?
If you happen to run in to one of these websites, one of the first things the fraudsters might try to do is leech your personal information. Depending on what you give them, this could be used to get in contact with you to pull you deeper into the scam, or it could be used straight away to access your accounts and steal money.
Once they’ve got you on the hook, they’ll encourage you to set up bonds and ISAs with them, which turn out to be fake.
If they steal my money, what then?
It’s important to know that money scams can happen to everyone, and not to be embarrassed about reporting it. You should report the scam to your bank before you do anything else. Then, you can report it to Action Fraud, who will investigate it further and give you a crime reference number that you can give to your bank. If the scam is still in progress, or you think you might be in immediate danger, you should also contact the police.
Watch out for recovery scams
If you’ve been targeted by a scam, it’s possible that fraudsters will try to contact you again in what’s known as a recovery scam. They can pose as a solicitor, financial adviser, someone from your bank – anyone you might trust – and will claim they can help you recover the money you lost. Sadly, this is just to extort more money from you.
Fraudsters pretending to offer Aviva bonds and ISAs
With these sorts of scams, fraudsters tend to use well-known brand names to gain your trust. We take this very seriously and take action on every website we find claiming to be us. So far, in 2023, we’ve identified 43 websites that we’ve taken down or are in the process of doing.
Below are some examples of websites and email addresses which have tried to contact customers claiming to be us, even though they have no links to us.
We update this list regularly, but it doesn't include every fake website or email address created by criminals. So if you come across a suspicious site that poses as 'Aviva' but it isn't listed, report it to us.
Spot the fraudster
There are a few ways you can spot fake websites, bogus calls or emails, and a few things you can do to protect yourself from scams:
- If something doesn’t feel quite right, or you become suspicious, don’t go any further! Don’t invest money (even a small amount) or share your personal details and documents to “see how it goes”. Instead, report the details to us so we can check them for you.
- Always do your own due diligence, even if the opportunity was recommended to you by someone you trust. They might not be aware of the signs of impersonation scams.
- Find the company’s official website yourself (for example, by using the FCA's Financial Services Register)and contact the company directly to check the details of the opportunity you are looking at.
- Take a close look at the websites, emails and documentations provided to you. Look out for poor quality images, poor grammar and spelling, missing contact details, broken links, disclaimers, unusual email addresses etc. As a business, Aviva will never use email service providers such as Gmail or Hotmail, to communicate with customers.
- Check the details of the investment on the FCA's ScamSmart tool If you’re interested in Aviva products, it’s best to go directly to aviva.co.uk or speak to an FCA-regulated financial adviser.
It may seem like a lot of effort to go to, but it's better to be safe than sorry.