We occasionally receive reports from members of fraudulent schemes targeting counsellors, such as scams involving bogus clients and fake cheques.

While scams are nothing new, technology has made it easier for criminals to target you and your business. If you advertise your services on your own website, on an online directory or on social media, then your contact details are available to criminals as well as potential clients or employers.

Some scammers focus on specific professionals such as counsellors, carrying out detailed background research in order to appear more credible.

We'll keep this page updated with details of any reports we receive.

Reporting fraud and scams

If you've been targeted by a scam, or are the victim of fraud, go to the Action Fraud website (www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime) for information and advice.

You can report the scam using the online reporting tool (you'll need to create an account) or by telephone. 

Scams to look out for

Here are some example case studies, based on actual scams targeting counsellors, with some tips for avoiding scams.

Advertising scams

"I was phoned by someone claiming to be from the ‘Police and Fire Association’. They said that BACP was recommending therapists in the area and asked if I would like to place an advertisement in a directory for emergency services.

"They asked for my bank details. I found out that other counsellors in the area had had the same call. It turned out that the company didn’t exist and had no association with the Police Service, the Fire Service or BACP."

Scam-busting tips:

  • take your time – resist pressure to make an immediate decision
  • get the caller’s details and call them back when you’ve had time to think about it
  • overwhelmed by persuasive sales patter? - it’s OK to say “no, thank you”

Bogus clients

"I received a phone call today from someone who said they wanted to see me for a series of counselling sessions. Something didn’t seem quite right, but we agreed a price and the ‘client’ said I could send them an invoice at the conclusion of the four sessions we’d agreed on.

"I asked them to send me this information in writing and they said they’d email me. When I got the email it asked for my bank account number and sort code.”

Scam-busting tips:

  • trust your instincts if something doesn’t feel right
  • ask for information to be confirmed in writing – it’s a great way to buy yourself some thinking time
  • never give out your bank details unless you are certain you can trust the person

Payment frauds

"A potential client emailed me and asked about having a course of counselling. They said they would like to pay for the sessions up front and that the cheque would be paid by a third party. When the cheque arrived it was for a much greater amount than the counselling fees.

"The client asked me to bank the cheque and send them back a cheque for the excess, minus a generous admin fee. The cheque turned out to be a fake.”

Scam-busting tips:

  • remember the golden rule – if something seems too good to be true, it probably is
  • read up on how to spot counterfeit cheques – they’re a scammer favourite
  • never send money to someone you don’t know