Fraud is when someone steals property, goods or money by tricking, or trying to trick you. Many people are taken in by fraudsters - criminals that use clever tactics and tricks to try and manipulate people.
Some common words to describe types of fraud include: 'scam', 'con', 'trick', 'sham', 'false representation', 'swindle', 'deceit', and many more. One common tactic used by fraudsters is to use a false identity to commit crimes.
- They might use fake name badges and identification.
- They might deceive you into buying goods or services that are not for sale, or don't exist.
- They may provide a service, often of poor quality, but charge you many times the original amount quoted, without reason.
- They may trick you into giving them money, even large amounts, possibly over a long period of time.
- They may resort to trying to frighten, bully or harass you to get more money.
If you need help and support, contact one of the providers to the right, or use the search bar at the top of this page. You can also find more information around different 'types' of fraud below, along with details of local events to learn how to keep yourself safe.
Additionally you can find out more about cyber fraud specifically on the Cyber Crime page.
If you would like to report fraud, you can do so on Action Fraud's website.
Please note that Action Fraud are a reporting centre only and will be unable to update you on the progress of a case. All reports are sent to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, run by the City of London Police, to assess.
Alternatively, if you or someone you know is vulnerable, you can report directly to Operation Signature at Sussex Police online or by calling 101. Operation Signature is a Sussex Police campaign to identify and support vulnerable victims of fraud. You can find further advice and information on the Sussex Police website.
You can also report scam mail to the Royal Mail for their awareness.
Romance fraud is a type of crime where a person uses a fake profile to build a friendship or relationship with you for fraudulent, financial gain.
They will spend significant amounts of time talking and engaging with you to gain your trust and create a relationship with you before they ask for money. To help keep yourself safe, you can do the following:
- If using an online dating service, stay on their messenger service to talk until you are confident the person is who they say they are.
- Never send money to someone who you haven't met in person
- Avoid giving away personal details
If you are concerned that a person you are speaking to may not be who they say they are, you can do a reverse image search to find out if the photo they have been using has been taken from someone else. Upload the photo they are using to google image search.
If you think you have been a victim of romance fraud, or you have suspicions of it, you can report it online to Operation Signature at Sussex Police or you can call 101.
Alternatively you can report suspicions anonymously to Scamalytics who use the information to create a 'blacklist' of scammers and remove them from dating sites.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of romance fraud, you can find further advice and support by contacting the services listed to the right.
Businesses can also be at risk of fraud, especially online. You can help minimise the risk of this by:
- Implementing robust financial controls
- Storing financial documents securely, shredding them when no longer needed
- Checking bank statements carefully, and reporting anything you do not recognise or find suspicious
- Ensuring your computer software is secure and updated
- Using effective passwords to protect your data
More information on how to help decrease the risk of cyber crime for businesses can be found on the Cyber Crime page.
Community support events in West Sussex
There are various community events currently being held in West Sussex for those who may wish to learn more about frauds and scams, and how to help protect themselves. The following events are all free to attend and you can book on by contacting them directly with the details below.
You can also keep up to date with the latest fraud and online safety events by signing up to the Staying Safe Online E-newsletter and register or login to your account, and tick 'Staying Safe Online' to subscribe.
Safe Against Scams
The following events have been organised by West Sussex County Council's Digital Safety Team:
Wednesday 2nd August 2023- 10:00am to 11:30am (Online and at Horsham Library)
Book a place here Are You Scam Savvy? Tickets, Wed 2 Aug 2023 at 10:00 | Eventbrite
Tuesday 15th August 2023- 10:00am to 11:30am (Online and at Bognor Library)
If you would like some free digital safety support from a friendly and patient volunteer, please phone 0330 222 3185 or email: DigitalAmbassadors@westsussex.gov.uk Find out more: www.westsussex.gov.uk/staying-safe-online.
You can also read more about their work here.
NatWest Keeping Your Money Safe Events
NatWest provide events on 'Keeping Your Money Safe'. You can find more detail, along with various guides and information on types of fraud, scams and how to help protect yourself here.
Community support events in East Sussex
There are no current events running.
Library computer buddies and connect volunteers
You can find additional resources to help you here.