Scamwatch: surge in wedding fraud

Jess Bown
Scamwatch: don't let wedding fraud ruin your big day
Scamwatch: don't let wedding fraud ruin your big day

Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles giving you the lowdown on the scams they use to trick people out of their hard-earned cash - and how to avoid being taken in by them.

See also: How to spot fake currency on holiday

See also: Sharp rise in council tax rebate scams

This week, we investigate the latest ploys criminals are using to dupe happy couples, often ruining their wedding days in the process.

How does it work?

The wedding season is in full swing. And unfortunately, that means a surge in the number of scams being used to steal money from couples getting married.

In the last six months alone, more than 600 wedding-day frauds have been reported to UK police.

Recent examples include dodgy wedding planning service Forever Occasions, which hit the headlines this week after being reported by several couples, and a British 'designer' who has made a packet selling £100 wedding dresses bought from China as one-off creations for which she charged more than £1,000.

How can I avoid being caught out?

When planning a wedding, only make a payment to companies you have thoroughly researched, and arrange to pay a percentage of the fee after the event where possible to avoid any problems.

Then pay for everything you can with a credit card so you can benefit from Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which states that card providers are jointly liable with suppliers who fail to deliver - as long as you spend more than £100.

For further protection, you may also want to take out wedding insurance that will cover you should anything go wrong.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?

You can report a fraudulent company, such as a caterer or wedding planning service, to Trading Standards by calling Citizens Advice on 03454 040506, and to the police via Action Fraud (0300 123 2040).

If you paid for the company's services on credit card, you can also make a complaint and request a refund from your credit card company under the terms of Section 75.