Immigration Fraud Advice: Tricks & Scams To Watch Out For

Home Office Issues Immigration Fraud Advice

The Home Office has become aware of a number of scams operated by those trying to trick people who need help with immigration matters or who are already in the UK immigration system.

We were contacted by a woman in Spain who had been in video conversations with a man claiming to need an au pair for his children. He appeared on the video with two children. He sent her official-looking documents. He told her he could get her a visa to the UK and she paid him a substantial amount of money to do this. This is a prime example of immigration fraud. The visa was non-existent. Her mother had provided the money from her life savings and it was lost. 

The Home Office says:

“If you receive an unexpected email, telephone call or letter from someone who claims to be from the Home Office, it may be a scam. We will never contact you to ask for money or your personal details.”

The Home Office

How Do The Fraudsters Make Contact?

  • By telephoning people in the UK and other countries
  • By using websites to offer fake services, work or study in the UK and guaranteed visas to enter the UK
  • By using email addresses or SMS numbers that look official but are not

What do the fraudsters say?

  • They try to make you believe that they can offer you something very easily, such as a visa for the UK. Take it from us, getting any kind of visa to the UK is never ‘very easy’.
  • They claim there is a problem with your application or visa.

They will try to make themselves seem very genuine and may use language that sounds official or false documents such as a job offer letter than looks real. They may already seem to know something about you, such as your name and address, or that you have applied for a visa. Then they ask you for money or for your personal information.

Immigration Fraud Scams Known To The Home Office

The Government website lists the scams known to it. There is some discrepancy in its guidance on fake email addresses – please see our note on this below. Here is the guidance:

Websites that offer jobs in the UK that do not exist - If you apply for one, they tell you that you have the job and ask you to pay visa and work permit fees. That is not how our visa system works, and there are no shortcuts to a job in the UK. A genuine employer would direct you to this website, where you can make an official application. If the job offer sounds too good to be true, it could be a scam. We will never guarantee a job in the UK

A person pretending to be an officer from the Home Office or from a visa application centre - They may go to your home to ask for money to process your partner’s visa. Legitimate visa officers will only meet you at their offices and will never contact you to ask for money in person or by email or phone. They may call and tell you there is a serious problem with your visa. They contact people within the UK and in other countries, and often target students. They appear to be genuine and convincing, and may give a false name and return phone number. They tell you to send money as soon as possible using different methods of payment such as MoneyGram, to prevent some kind of action, like deportation or cancellation of your visa.

People who target applicants for UK work or study visas - They ask you to pay a deposit as proof that you have enough funds to support yourself in the UK. As part of the official application process, you must give us evidence that you have enough money to support yourself, but we will never ask you to give us money.

Agents claiming to work for the Home Office or visa application centres - They tell you they can get you a visa using forged documents. We have advanced methods of identifying forgeries and will refuse your application if you use them. You should pay attention to any documents you receive or submit as part of your application to check they are real. This includes looking for spelling mistakes or grammar mistakes, and incorrect letterhead or branding. Fake agents may say they can speed up the process of getting a visa and may ask for payment in iTunes vouchers or into a personal bank account for the progression of a visa application.

Fake Government websites - Fake websites are designed to look like official ones for the UK government or its official visa enquiry services. Official UK government websites always have ‘’ at the end of their website address.

Fake email addresses - Official Home Office email addresses are always in this format: These are the formats of official Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office email addresses: and Sometimes the email address you see on the screen of a fake website or email is in that format, but when you click on it, it creates an email that will be sent to a different address. Always check the actual address on the email you are sending. We will never ask for payment by email, at a visa application centre or into a personal bank account. All associated costs such as visa fees or premium services should be paid online on the official GOV.UK and commercial partner websites.

The Home Office Guidance Can Be A Little Confusing

Some people have started to receive emails about the new e-visa system which will start in January 2025. These emails are sent from this address: This does not fit with the guidance which states that official Home Office email addresses are always in this format: We also see genuine emails from the Home Office that are not in this format.

The guidance states you should be suspicious if asked for 'your bank account or credit card details, or confidential information' whereas the e-visa email says you will need 'your date of birth; BRP Number; your passport (if you do not have a BRP)'.

The guidance states you should be suspicious if 'they demand secrecy or try to force you to act immediately' whereas their emails state, in bold, 'If you are not a British or Irish citizen, you need to take action now, before your BRP expires on 31 December 2024.' 

How To Protect Yourself Against Immigration Fraud

The Home Office advice is that you should be suspicious if:

  • what they offer seems too good to be true – an easy job in the UK, or a way to get a UK visa quickly and easily
  • you are guaranteed a visa to enter the UK using documents they provide to support your application
  • they ask you for money, particularly if they ask you for cash or to pay using insecure payment methods such as money transfer, Ukash voucher or Paysafecard (which you buy at a shop) – these methods do not allow the recipient to be traced
  • they ask for your bank account or credit card details, or confidential information
  • they demand secrecy or try to force you to act immediately
  • the website does not look professional (badly written or designed) or does not include any information about the organisation
  • you are asked to reply to a free email account such as Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, or Gmail which may also contain poor grammar and spelling

If you are suspicious:

  • do not give out any personal information, or confirm that any personal information they have is correct
  • do not pay them any money
  • do not pay them using electronic vouchers

Report Any Suspicions Of Fraud

We would urge you report any scams to Action Fraud, either on the Action Fraud website or (only if you are in the UK) by phoning 0300 123 2040.

Warn your friends and family, particularly those who are vulnerable to promises or pressure relating to their immigration status. Our immigration system engenders fear, insecurity and desperation – these criminals use this as an opportunity to exploit.

If you require any further assistance or advice in relation to immigration fraud, please contact us.

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