Fraudsters pretending to be enforcement agents, County Court bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers, demanding immediate payments, have risen by 12% so far in 2024 alone.

On 5th June 2024, Russell Hamblin-Boone, CEO of CIVEA (the industry association that covers civil enforcement) was invited onto ITV’s This Morning to explain how these scam “bailiffs” work, how you can spot a scam and what to do if you are affected.

Outdated terminology

Bailiff is no longer the correct terminology for enforcement agents, so any contact or correspondence that has the word “bailiff”, particularly if it is in the company name, is a red flag

Fear and urgency

Scammers work on a combination of fear and urgency. They put you under pressure to make a payment. If there is a genuine debt owing, you will receive a number of communications before you receive a notice of enforcement advising that you may receive a visit from an enforcement agent.

What to expect from a genuine enforcement agent

During a visit, a genuine enforcement agent (EA) will have the following:

  • ID
  • Details of the debt and the creditor
  • Body worn video device

Whilst a scammer may create a fake ID, they are unlikely to go to the expense of body worn video. If they refuse to give details of the debt or the creditor, that is another red flag.

Part of the visit will also include the EA identifying any signs of potential vulnerability, identifying that back to their office and providing signposting to support.

A genuine EA will be very happy to provide the time for person they have visited to shut the door and go to do some checks to make sure this is a genuine visit.


We would add to this excellent advice that demands for instant payment and/or bank details are also a red flag.

Whilst we may contact you by phone to discuss a warrant or writ of control and will offer to take debit or credit card payments or set up a direct debit over the phone, we will never:

  • Telephone you to ask for your bank details (except when setting up an arrangement by direct debit)
  • Telephone you to ask you to make a bank transfer using your sort code and account number

How to check

Call the company the person claims to work for, if the caller says they are a HCEO or CEA. You can also contact the High Court Enforcement Officers Association and the Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA) for more information.

Call your local county court, if the caller says they are an HMCTS bailiff or a County Court Bailiff. Contact details for county courts are on GOV.UK.

If you believe you have been a victim of this scam you should report the matter to Action Fraud online or call 0300 123 2040.

Watch the full interview

You can watch the full interview with Russell Hamblin-Boone on the ITV website. Please note that this is an external website and we have no control over how long this page is available.

David Asker

David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance