Frequently asked questions about Fraud

Can I protect myself from fraud?

Action Fraud have put together a simple list of actions that may help prevent you becoming a victim of fraud;

  1. Do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to organisations or people before verifying their credentials.
  2. Many frauds start with a phishing email. Remember that banks and financial institutions will not send you an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details. Do not trust such emails, even if they look genuine. You can always call your bank using the phone number on a genuine piece of correspondence, website (typed directly into the address bar) or the phone book to check if you're not sure.
  3. Destroy and preferably shred receipts with your card details on and post with your name and address on. Identity fraudsters don't need much information in order to be able to clone your identity.
  4. Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed. Ensure your browser is set to the highest level of security notification and monitoring to prevent malware issues and computer crimes.
  5. Sign-up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code whenever you are given the option while shopping online. This involves you registering a password with your card company and adds an additional layer of security to online transactions with signed-up retailers.
  6. If you receive bills, invoices or receipts for things you haven't bought, or financial institutions you don't normally deal with contact you about outstanding debts, take action. Your identity may have been stolen.

What support is available to victims of fraud?

If you have been a victim of fraud, there is a network of support and information available to you. Sometimes people choose not to report fraud or seek advice because they are embarrassed that they fell for a scam, con, swindle, or any other word used to describe the crime.

Remember that fraud is a crime and that fraudsters will constantly reinvent themselves to find new ways of tricking people. Anyone could be a victim.

First steps

The first thing you should do if you've been a victim of fraud is to contact Action Fraud. You can report a fraud via their online fraud reporting tool, or by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

If there is a crime being committed right now or if you are in danger you should call the police on 999.

If debit or credit cards, online banking or cheques are involved, you should contact your bank or credit card company as soon as possible. Read more about reporting a fraud to Action Fraud.

Why report to Action Fraud?

As the UK's national fraud reporting centre, Action Fraud should be your first point of contact if you have been a victim of fraud.

Reporting fraud to Action Fraud ensures that the correct crime reporting procedures are followed. We pass on all fraud cases to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), which is overseen by the police force that leads on fraud for the UK - the City of London Police. Making a crime report to Action Fraud also means that you will receive a police crime reference number. You can use your police crime reference number to update the information in your crime report, if you need to at a later date.