I've heard in the past week worrying tales from across the UK that concern my member companies.

It seems that fraudsters are calling consumers across the UK and falsely claim to be representing ACC member companies and are 'seeking to engage consumers' in a PPI redress claim. They are then telling consumers they need to secure the claim by paying an upfront fee of £99 - payable immediately on a credit card. In some instances I believe an amount of £999 was drawn from the unsuspecting consumer's card.

Let me make it absolutely clear - no reputable claims management company will charge you an upfront fee for initiating a claim. It is absolutely forbidden for members of the ACC to do so as this is not the way good CMCs operate.

When I meet with the regulators and discuss how best to safeguard consumers, I take one clear message to every single meeting - ban the practice of allowing any CMC to be able to charge up front fees. It is simply wrong and we do not feel any CMC should be doing it. It is regrettable that the rogue element of the CMC market still exists - though I doubt these fraudsters are authorised to undertake claims in any case.

So my message is two-fold - to consumers across the UK - don't get caught by conmen. Do NOT pay any fee upfront to instigate a PPI claim. All members of the ACC operate on a no win no fee basis and will never charge you an up front fee.

If you are called and the caller purports to be from an organisation and then asks you for a fee, get as many details as you can from them if possible their name, try to record their number (often though they are withheld) and the time of the call.

Under no circumstances give any credit card details over the phone to the caller - ACC members will only ever seek their fee once your claim is successful and never before it starts.

Then decline, and ask for a number to call them back on, or ask for their website details so you can check their details. Then once off the call please report this to the local police via the 101 number and, if you are able to do so, make the legitimate company aware that their name is being abused in this way.

And my message to the UK Government, ban the use of up front fees in financial claims today and put one more obstacle in the way of poorly operating CMCs and fraudsters.