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The Fight Against Fraudsters

November 16, 2023

Category: News

The Fight Against Fraudsters

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Christmas is just around the corner, and as well as being a time for family, friends, and festive fun, it is also an opportune time for fraudsters.

In support of International Fraud Awareness Week and the global fight against fraud, this week we are raising awareness of the 'fake bailiff scam'. Read on to find out how the scam works, the current tactics used by criminals and how to verify if an enforcement agent or letter is genuine.

How the scam works

In the past, the enforcement industry has fought against criminals who pose as court representatives or, more recently, enforcement agents (bailiffs) in an attempt to persuade victims to hand over money.

The criminals contact their victims, some of whom are genuinely experiencing enforcement action, and demand immediate payment. They can be extremely convincing and may offer a discount if the 'debt' is paid immediately or threaten to seize the victims' possessions to coerce them into making the payment.

If a victim does pay, the money will be sent to a bank account which will be emptied and closed before the police can catch the perpetrator. In cases where a victim is a debtor and is later visited by a genuine enforcement agent, agents are limited in what support they can offer and can only advise the victim to contact Action Fraud. They must then continue with the legitimate enforcement action as the debtor remains liable to pay their debt.

The latest techniques used by criminals

Where fraudsters would normally choose to use fake names, they have recently begun to use the real names of enforcement agents taken from the Certificated Bailiff Register or Directory of High Court Enforcement Officers. In a further attempt to deceive victims, we have recently seen a website created that looked very similar to the website of the High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA).

Victims may also receive letters or emails that look very convincing. These communications often include the names and logos of genuine enforcement companies and can be difficult to distinguish from the real thing.

How to protect yourself from fake enforcement agents

The cost of living crisis in the UK means that cases of fraud are likely to increase, so it is important to stay alert for scams and to know what to look for if you are contacted by an enforcement agent.

If you receive a telephone call

If you are unsure whether a phone call you receive is genuine, there are ways to find out.

  • If the caller says they are a County Court Bailiff, your local court can confirm. Find the details here:
  • If the caller claims to be a High Court Enforcement Officer or Certified Enforcement Agent, contact the HCEOA ( or the Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA)

If you receive a letter or email or text message

Instead of calling the telephone number in the letter or email (which may be a fake number linked to the fraudsters), you can:

  • Use a search engine such as Google to find whether the company has a website, and call the number shown on the site
  • Contact your local court or the HCEOA for more information
  • Don't click any links you are unsure of

If you receive a visit from an enforcement agent

We are hearing reports of attendances being made by individuals purporting to be an enforcement agent or court official. You should always:

  • Ask to see a copy of their ID
  • Review any paperwork that is provided; does it look legitimate and do the contact details match those on the company's website?

If you feel unsafe at any time or believe that the individual is not who they say they are, you should contact the enforcement firm or the police.

Government guidance

Find up-to-date guidance from the UK government's guidance relating to this issue here.

If you think you may have fallen victim to a scam, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their website here.

Contact from Wilson & Roe

Please note that we would not contact a debtor or request payment before a Notice of Enforcement has been served.

If you have received communication that appears to be from Wilson & Roe and you want to verify it is from us, please call our office on 0161 925 1800 and we will be happy to help.

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