How can I tell an enforcement agent (bailiff) is who they say they are?

How can I tell an enforcement agent (bailiff) is who they say they are?

Every Enforcement Agent (formerly known as a bailiff) is required to be awarded a certificate before they can work in the UK. An enforcement agent’s certificate is granted by the County Court and must be renewed every two years. To qualify, the enforcement agent must satisfy the court that they have sufficient knowledge of the law and procedure evidenced by Level 2 or equivalent Training in the Taking Control of Goods Regulations.

The Ministry of Justice keeps a list of certificated enforcement agents that can be searched here

Certificated enforcement agents enforce non-High Court orders which include non-payment of council tax, business rates, parking and traffic offences, fines from the Magistrates’ Court, non-payment of child support, or a failure to pay commercial rent.

Confirmation that an enforcement agent is certified should reassure you that they are qualified and professional, but further steps can be taken to ensure they are who they say they are and not an imposter.

How can I tell if someone is an imposter bailiff?

Fraudsters and scammers contact members of the public posing as Enforcement Agents, County Court bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers and saying that the person owes money and demanding that they transfer funds into a bank account.

A genuine enforcement case will have a unique reference number from the court, which will be on all correspondence. Fraudsters cannot replicate this information. Case numbers can be checked directly with the company in question or against any previous correspondence, so any contact referencing this case number can be accepted as proof of legitimacy.

Should I trust a call about my Council Tax or Penalty Charge Notices?

CIVEA member firms may call to discuss a court order or warrant and will offer to take debit or credit card payments over the phone, but will never ask for bank details (sort codes or account numbers) to complete a bank transfer. If anyone calls claiming to be a Enforcement Agent, County Court bailiff or High Court Enforcement Officer asking for this information, no payment should be made and no bank details supplied and the call should be ended.

After ending a suspicious call there are important next steps to make. If the caller said they are an Enforcement Agent or High Court Enforcement Officer, the recipient can contact either the High Court Enforcement Officers Association or ourselves for more information. If the caller said they were an HMCTS bailiff, the local county court should be contacted right away to verify. Contact details for county courts are available on GOV.UK.

CIVEA member firms will also not authorise an enforcement visit without prior notification. Therefore, it is essential to update the enforcement firm of any change of address, and the DVLA if you own a vehicle. Always ask for the relevant case number before offering up any personal information.

If you believe you might have been a victim of a scam, you should report the matter immediately to Action Fraud online or on 0300 123 2040.

0844 893 3922

PO Box 745

For general enquiries only, you can contact us by email (, letter or telephone.

If you have a complaint or concern about one of our members, please go to our complaints page for advice

CIVEA is unable to discuss complaint matters over the telephone and complaints should be sent in writing. This is to ensure that the details of your complaint are accurately recorded and understood which makes it easier in addressing your complaint thoroughly. Please advise if you have a disability, so that we can make reasonable adjustments.

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