Monthly Message from Fraud Team: Home Appliance Insurance Scams

Avon and Somerset Police have identified increased reports where the public have received misleading calls convincing them to take out insurance cover or warranty on their household appliances. This is despite most appliances being covered under the standard manufacturer’s warranty.

Criminals may say that your existing cover is expiring and that you need to renew. They will purport to be well known, legitimate insurers, and it might even be an insurer you have an existing policy with, making it appear more genuine.

The elderly and vulnerable are a particular target, being coerced into handing over their bank details to pay for insurance policies which often do not exist, are overpriced, or contain clauses preventing a payout should the item become damaged. Payments are often set up as direct debits, totalling hundreds of pounds per month.

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As a Fraud Protect Officer, I have visited people who have become victims of various types of fraud, and upon closer inspection of their bank statements, it has become apparent that they also have numerous direct debits going out for appliance cover, often for the same appliance. Unfortunately, once someone has become a victim of fraud, they are likely to be heavily targeted by fraudsters. One man was paying a total of £440 per month to cover his 8-year-old washing machine. Sadly, relatives are often only finding out that this has happened to their loved ones after they have passed away, finding years’ worth of direct debits totalling thousands of pounds for fraudulent policies, sometimes, for appliances they didn’t even own.

The National Fraud Strategy sets out to ban all cold calls selling financial products as part of the national crackdown on scams, and Avon and Somerset Police are keen to raise awareness. 

Our advice

We are urging the public to be wary of any cold calls of this nature, or any cold calls for that matter. Calls out of the blue are always a red flag. If you are getting numerous cold calls, contact your telephone provider and enquire about a call blocker. It is also well worth spending some time looking through your bank statements and query any transactions or direct debits you don’t recognise with your bank. If you do realise that you have been a victim of fraud, you can call 159 to get through to your bank’s fraud department. It should also be reported to Action Fraud, the National Reporting Centre for Fraud, either over the phone (0300 123 2040) or online (