The latest scam to sweep the internet is clever. With this one, we’re not talking about a person in Nigeria claiming that he has £1,000,000 that he’d like to send you. The scam is seemingly a referral marketing tool promising you £75 for “signing up” and a further £25 if you refer a friend and they sign up.
All you have to do is provide 2 forms of ID which confirm your name, address and date of birth. You also need to provide your bank account details to receive the £75 and subsequent referral payments. Easy right? Whilst you will (and many have!) receive the money, have you thought about the consequences of divulging your information?
What you are essentially doing is facilitating identity fraud. A limited company set up in your name, using the details you have provided and registered to your home address. You will be registered as the sole director.
This company probably used to conduct an illegal activity of some sort, including but not limited to, money laundering or selling counterfeit goods. Given you’ve provided all the necessary information, the scammers will most likely open a bank account in your name, run up debt and ruin your credit history. This creates issues for the individual on both a personal and professional level. In extreme cases, you could potentially end up with a criminal record.
If you think you have fallen victim to this scam, or one which sounds similar, you need to arrange for the company to be struck off at Companies House. This will cost you £10 and you will need to fill in form DS01. A small price to pay to avoid the potential consequences. You should also notify the Police. There is however little they can do. There has been no ID theft involved as you willingly provided your ID to the scammers. Notifying the Police will at least alert them to the issue and will go towards helping build a case against those responsible for the scam. Lastly, you should contact your bank and close your account. Whilst this may seem extreme, you have no idea where your bank details have been passed on to and where they may be used in the future.
Should you have further questions, the PM+M team are on hand to help. Please call us on 01254 679131. No question is too silly and what’s most important to us is that our clients and contacts protect themselves in the best way that they can.