The ASA’s Scam Ad Alert system provides a way for anyone to quickly and easily report to us scams that they have seen in 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 believe to be a scam, tell us about it now via our Reporting Form.

If you have seen a 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 stop scammers and prevents other people from being scammed.

Scam Ad Alert FAQ

What kind of scams should I report to the ASA?

We encourage reports about any 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 online scam ad 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.

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.

How many scam ad reports do you receive and what happens to them?

In the first six months of the ASA’s Scam Ad Alert system we received 1,274 reports from the public which resulted in 121 alerts being sent to online platforms. You can find out more about our six-month review of the system here.

Where can I report a scam email?

Please forward the email to the Suspicious Email Reporting Services which is operated by the National Cyber Security Service - [email protected].

Where can I report an ad for a product making exaggerated or unscientific claims?

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.

Where can I report a scam website?

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.

If you lost money to the scammer, you should contact Action Fraud.

You can also find information and support from the Citizens Advice at at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/reporting-a-scam/.

What should I do if I’ve been scammed?

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 lost money to the scammer, you should contact Action Fraud.

You can also find information and support from the Citizens Advice at at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/reporting-a-scam/.

Where can I report an ad offering free Government Services at a cost?

Please report the ad to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice (if in England or Wales), to ConsumerAdvice.scot (if in Scotland) or to Consumerline (if in Northern Ireland).