The High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA) is backing International Fraud Awareness Week and urging anyone who thinks they have been contacted by someone pretending to be a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) to contact the police and/or Action Fraud.

The Association and its members have recently reported a number of attempted ‘scams’ to Action Fraud and are keen to ensure that no-one falls victim to fraudsters.

Alan J Smith, Chair of the HCEOA, said: “Like all types of fraud, enforcement fraud is an ongoing battle and one we’re committed to playing our part in fighting alongside the police and fraud prevention experts.

“These types of scams can be very convincing and sophisticated, but knowing what to expect from an Enforcement Agent and remaining vigilant can help to identify fraud and protect yourself and others from falling victim to fraudulent activity.

“As an Association we never collect money from debtors, so we always say that if anyone is suspicious about any contact they receive then they should follow our checklist below and contact their local police and Action Fraud.”

“Obviously our members collect debts legitimately on behalf of creditors and we and they are very keen that anyone who has any suspicions about any contact takes the appropriate steps to protect themselves and inform the authorities.”

International Fraud Awareness Week is an annual event organised by The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) that serves as a global movement to minimise the impact of fraud by promoting anti-fraud awareness and education. It runs from November 12-18th, 2023.

In the most common instances of enforcement fraud, scammers will contact individuals or businesses claiming to be a HCEO, Certificated Enforcement Agent (CEA) or HMCTS County Court bailiff chasing debt from a County Court or High Court judgment.

HCEOs abide by strict regulations and the HCEOA’s Code of Best Practice, which sets out the levels of professionalism and responsibility that the Association expects from HCEOs and their appointed Enforcement Agents.

  • HCEOs will always carry identification, and they must show it to you if you ask for it. This should show their name and the enforcement business they work for. If you doubt that the contact you’ve received from a HCEO is genuine, you should call the enforcement business they claim to work after looking up the number yourself online and quoting any reference numbers on the paperwork you’ve been given. You can use the ‘find a member’ section of the HCEOA’s website to verify the HCEO in question and find details of the business they work for and contact them directly at https://www.hceoa.org.uk/choosing-a-hceo/find-a-member.
  • If you receive a visit from a HCEO or Enforcement Agent, you should have received seven clear days’ notice in writing (not including Sundays or Bank Holidays) that they intend to visit your property and take control of your goods. If someone claiming to be a HCEO visits you without this notice, then they are going against the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 and the visit is likely not genuine.
  • HCEOs may try to call you if they have your contact details to discuss payment, however they will never ask for your bank details over the phone. Most enforcement businesses have invested considerably into customer service tools such as online payment portals which you can access using their respective websites.

Fraudsters can be well informed and very convincing. If you think someone has contacted you pretending to be an Enforcement Agent you should report this to your local Police Station, and/or Action Fraud’s National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre on their website, or by calling 0300 123 2040.

If you are concerned about enforcement fraud, you can find more guidance on the HCEOA website at: https://www.hceoa.org.uk/paying-a-debt/i-am-concerned-about-fraud

For more information on International Fraud Awareness week visit: https://www.fraudweek.com/?utm_source=pressrelease&utm_medium=pr&utm_campaign=202310-FW2023

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