Invoice Scams


Don’t lose your house deposit to fraud!


Imagine a situation where you’ve built up your life savings and you’re ready to pay your solicitor your deposit (likely tens of thousands of pounds) to finalise the deal on your new home. You receive an email from your solicitor with the details of where you need to send the money. Only some days later does your real solicitor call you and ask you to send over the money… After some back and forth you realise that someone has hacked your emails and learned of your impending house purchase. They’ve written a very convincing email that looks as if it is from your solicitor and now your money is gone…

This is a real nightmare scenario that has unfortunately become a reality for many people. These scams are typically referred to as invoice or mandate scams. Fraudsters look for situations where you’d be likely to send large sums from your account, and try to insert themselves into the process. When successful, they’ll have managed to convince you that they’re the conveyancer, builder, or anyone else who was due a large sum of money. An estimated £114 million was lost to invoice scams in 2019 alone, with just 28% of funds returned to victims.

How to protect yourself from invoice scams

  • If you receive an email with bank account details to send your money to, do not immediately send the money. Stop what you’re doing and follow the steps below. 

  • Call whoever you’re sending money to on their trusted number and confirm the bank details with them directly before sending any money. Don’t follow the weblinks or call the number provided in that particular email; instead, open a fresh browser window and go directly to their website to find their telephone number. If possible, try to speak to the person you’ve dealt with throughout your process. 

  • When paying someone for the first time, especially where large amounts are involved such as with a house purchase, send a small amount first and check directly with the company that the money was received.

  • If you use online banking, you should see a warning if you’re paying someone and the details you’re using don’t match who they say they are.

I’ve fallen victim to an invoice scam. Can I get a refund?

refundfix may be able to help you get your money back. Fill in our claim form to see whether we’re able to act on your behalf to get your bank to refund you the money lost to the invoice scam. refundfix is a claims management company and our fee is  15% of the total amount you get back, but it’s easy to manage your case yourself for free! Check out our guidance page on what to do if you’d like to do it yourself. You can complain to your bank, and if you aren’t happy with their response, escalate your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.