The ASA’s Scam Ad Alert system provides a way for anyone to quickly and easily report suspicious paid-for ads online.
Where we have sufficient information and the report relates to an obvious scam, we pass the details to our network of key industry partners, including all the major social media platforms and ad networks operating in the UK. This means that scam ads are taken down and the information used to stop similar ads appearing.
The ASA’s Scam Ad Alert system aims to complement the work already being done by digital advertising and social media platforms, other regulatory bodies and law enforcement to tackle scam ads and, more broadly, other fraudulent activity online.
Our system is not a silver bullet to eradicate scam ads online, but it is right that we play our part alongside others to help reduce the number of fraudulent paid-for ads online and better protect consumers.
If you have seen an online ad in paid-for space which you think might be a scam, tell us about it now via our Reporting Form.
If you have seen a suspected scam somewhere else online then our FAQs below can help you identify who to report it to. Reporting a scam to us or other bodies helps prevents other people from falling victim to scams and may help stop criminal activity.
Scam Ad Alert FAQ
We encourage reports about any suspected scams seen in paid-for ad space online, including: paid-for search ads; ads on newspaper sites; and paid-for ads seen on social media platforms, games or apps.
Examples of the type of suspicious online paid-for ads the ASA can act upon include:
- fake celebrity news, such as reporting a celebrity has been assaulted or has died when that is not true, or links through to websites making these claims.
- false celebrity endorsements, such as claiming a celebrity made their money through cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and is encouraging others to do the same, or links through to websites making these claims.
- ads offering an expensive product at an implausibly low price.
- ads for weight loss products, such as keto supplements, that make unrealistic weight loss claims or claim to have featured on programmes like Dragon's Den.
You might also be able to report an advert when you see it. For example, Google, Facebook and Instagram let you tell them about scam ads. If you've done this, you can still then report to us so we can share details of the scam with others.
Since launching the Scam Ad Alert system in June 2020 we have received 4394 from the public which resulted in 319 Scam Ad Alerts being sent to online platforms, as of 5 March 2023.
You can find out more in our most recent update on numbers and scams trends.
If you’ve received a suspicious email, forward it to [email protected] to help stop criminal activity and prevent others falling victim to scams.
Report suspicious text messages or scam call numbers free of charge to 7726. Your provider can find out where the text came from and block or ban the sender.
It’s unlikely that we will consider this an obvious scam for the purposes of our Scam Ad Alert system. Please report the ad to us via our usual Complaints Form and we will assess it.
The ASA can only deal with scams where they appear in paid-for ad space online. However, if you arrived at the suspected scam website via an ad then please report the details of the ad to us via our Reporting Form.
The ASA Scam Ad Alert system focuses on passing on information so that scam ads are removed. We are not the right body to investigate the scammers themselves and we can’t help anyone get their money back.
If you have fallen victim to fraud or cyber crime, report it any time at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040. In Scotland, report it to Police Scotland by calling 101.
If you’ve had money stolen as a result of fraud, report it to your bank.
You can also find information and support from Citizens Advice at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/reporting-a-scam/.