Can Monzo block or warn before payments are made to known scammers

Recently fell for an obvious and known scam website that positions itself as a legitimate way for applying for Canada Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA, requirement for Visa exhempt travelers to Canada). The website is the first result that comes up when you search for Canada ETA in google. Ends up charging you 85$ which I now realize is a 7$ service.

Is there any way for us to report known scams and Monzo would then prevent other Monzo clients from falling for the same scam? Perhaps an alert that this is a possible scam?

The payment went through without even asking my app to confirm/approve.

Tried contacting Monzo chat, but they gave me the boiler plate response of trying to get a refund from the vendor first. Slim chance of that happening.

I would imagine the issue with this is that it then becomes a problem for Monzo to maintain a list of scam websites.

What happens if Monzo block a legitimate transaction due to people reporting something incorrectly/maliciously?

Can of worms.


I like the idea but imagine it will be hard to police

Not wanting to upset you further but from what you’ve described I wouldn’t call it a scam, just a business with a very high markup on a service.

I was ripped off by British Gas, they wrongfully billed me £2,000 so I would claim that they’re scammers too. Millions of others would say otherwise though and this is where it becomes hard to draw lines.


Perhaps it is for Google to flag things? Even if it’s a marker that says “we have had numerous reports of possible scam activity” or the likes and then it’s caveat emptor from that point?

Of course, Google will not play this game.

Depending on the wording the site might not be doing anything which is technically illegal,

If they make it clear that they provide a premium service by doing xyz ontop of the application.


I was thinking this. I’ve not used a service like this but have heard of people using ‘first results in Google’ and paying WAY over the odds for Visas and such.

To that end, is it really a scam? If they’re telling you what you’ll get and the price you’ll pay surely a little responsibility is on the customer too?

It’s frustrating and I feel for you OP but, like others have mentioned, this will be hard to police and would likely take up so much resource.

Not to mention that the actual scammers probably switch accounts around quite quick so cat and mouse would be endless.

I’ve just done a search and there were 2 sites on page 1 of google that I would identify as being “not official”. Just looking at the website address would tip you off, especially as the official website is listed nearby. The real giveaway is the cost. On the official website it’s very simple to see that it costs CAD $7, it’s there in black and white. On the not-legitimate sites, one had the cost hidden away (CAD $85), the other I couldn’t find mention whatsoever.

What worries me more about this is that you have to provide a lot of detail including names and passports and travel details and who knows what, that’s not something you want some dodgy website to have access to, even if the website is simply a robot that repackages the data and sends it to the official website automatically (and pockets the $ difference). I’d be much more worried about that, than paying over the odds.


It’s not a scam. You just picked a service that was bad value for money.


Thanks. I already know all of that, but a bit too late :rage:

I understand what you guys are all saying. I accept that I fell for it and should have checked further before paying, but it is frustrating to know others will continue to fall for this and there is nothing we can do to help.

The website is worded very carefully so it is not technically criminal, but a very intelligent scam nonetheless since they don’t do anything more than forward your application to the official website and pocket your money.

Would be nice if I could mark the transaction as suspicious in Monzo and then if a number of people repeatedly do that Monzo can then alert people before the transaction is allowed to go through. You can still ignore the alert and authorise the payment if you don’t agree it is suspicious. If enough people do that Monzo can then take it off the alert list. Automated crowd sourced process with no need for policing .

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It’s. Not. A. Scam. It was an expensive service.

It’s not Monzo’s job to tell you how to spend your money.

Monzo won’t know you’ve paid for the expensive service until you’ve actually paid for it, so Monzo can’t warn you in time. And it’s not Monzo’s job. And it’s not a scam.


No scam here. People need to take responsibility for their actions.

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I suppose you will just have to chop this down to a learning experience and know in the future to do some research before committing to anything.


I actually think there’s a feature idea here.

Not for ‘scams’, per se, but for merchants that have been reported/cautioned against extensively by members.

A user could have a ‘warn on negative reviews’ setting turned out, which declines any payments which hit a certain threshold. Attempting to make a payment could trigger an app notification They could turn it off/on, and choose ‘ignore warning for this merchant’ – which then lets subsequent payment attempts go through.

No policing required. Kinda like an eBay rating system - crowdsourced / community driven.

It’s alright saying ‘use your brain’, but not every complaint falls neatly into the camp of ‘scam’ - it might just be that a merchant has notoriously poor delivery, crappy CS, or some other issue that is hard to gauge without others already being burned.

Relatively simple feature to implement and useful as a secondary guard after common sense.


Definition of scam, from the OED:

A trick, a ruse; a swindle, a racket.

A site buying a Google advert to appear at the top of the results page and thus trick people into paying for a ‘service’ they don’t need? That’s a scam.

Google block millions of such adverts each year, the problem is they can’t always block them pre-emptively, and the scam sites are always re-rolling, so there will always be a small proportion of people who will see and potentially fall for the ads.

This is why I always tell people to scroll past the ad results and look for the first ‘proper’ result, and/or use an adblocker, or use Duckduckgo.


Problem is reviews can be gamed. I’ve seen products on Amazon get one star because it arrived a day late ffs.

At some point, as a buyer, you have to engage your brain and do your own research. You can’t float through life clicking on stuff because it appears at the top of Google, or because Monzo says its OK, or whatever.

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I have a business selling widgets. My nearest competitor is a ruthless fellow with many dodgy connections who tasks his extensive network of naughty types to report my business. Suddenly I’m selling no widgets but I don’t know why.

How do you counter that?


Or your great-granddad gets their widget, writes “Great product” in the review box, and gives it one star.

Or on the other end of the scale, sellers who include postcards in with their product saying “Write a 5* review and we’ll give you your money back”, where the product is invariably a shitty knock-off from a cheap Chinese factory.

This could be used for many purposes though. If people are boycotting a company they could just give it negative reviews

I think it would cause a lot of issues

To get back to the idea suggested.

Aside from the fact that the OP wasn’t scammed (unless they paid that money and didn’t receive the service offered mind you!) I don’t see anyway of any bank being the arbiter of something like this, nor wanting to be. The onus needs to remain with the customer, or very quickly banks would be swamped with requests against ‘scammers’ that are nothing of the sort (I hate to say it, but the OP would fall into this category, sorry about that!).

No vote from me.