To the police
If you or someone else is in immediate danger because of a scam (for example, if they are being threatened by an aggressive doorstep caller), call the police on 999.
Contact the police immediately by calling 101 if:
- the fraudster is in still your area
- you need help, support and / or assistance as result of the fraud
- a fraud is being committed
- you know the suspect and they reside in the UK
- the victim is perceived to be vulnerable (this may be through age, or by way of mental, or physical impairment, or in need of care and support), or
- a fraud has just recently occurred and you believe that it is important to report the incident to police quickly in order that they can secure and preserve evidence, or prevent loss (i.e. CCTV, recover large amounts of money transferred from bank accounts before the criminal can remove it.
To your bank
If you have made a payment in response to a scam, contact your bank as soon as possible as they may be able to recover some of your money and will refund you in certain circumstances.
To Action Fraud
Action Fraud is the central reporting centre for fraud for England and Wales.
You should report all types of fraud to Action Fraud whether or not you choose to report it to another agency such as Trading Standards or your bank as well. This includes if you have been the victim of attempted fraud or cybercrime, you have incurred a financial loss as a result of fraud, your personal data has been compromised or you have been hacked as a result of responding to a fraudulent email or text. This ensures that all frauds can be recorded and assessed and that trends in fraud can be identified, assisting with the identification of offenders.
Fraudsters are often clever and take advantage of the shame that many people feel if they have been taken in by them, that can prevent people reporting fraud. Fraud can happen to anyone - do not be too embarrassed to report if you have been conned or tricked out of money or your personal data. Reporting fraud helps track down and stop fraudsters and can prevent other people from becoming their victims.
It’s quickest to report fraud to Action Fraud online using the online reporting tool, but you can also report by phone on 0300 123 2040 Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm.
If you can’t hear or speak on the phone, you can use Relay UK with an app or a textphone on 18001 then 0300 123 2050.
Read more about reporting to Action Fraud here.
Action Fraud collates the reports and will give you a crime reference number, which can be helpful if you need to tell your bank you’ve been a victim of fraud. It passes details of all fraud reports received to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). If there are active lines of enquiry, a substantial amount of money has been lost or the victim is particularly vulnerable, the NFIB may investigate themselves or pass the details to the local police force to initiate an investigation. Everyone who reports a fraud to Action Fraud has the option to receive support from Victim Support afterwards.
Not every report results in an investigation, but every report helps to build a clear picture of fraud, contributes to making the UK a more hostile place for fraudsters to operate in and helps to keep other potential victims safe.
Smishing: If you have received a suspicious text message you can forward it from your phone free of charge by sending it to 7726. This enables your provider to identify the origin of the text and take action.
If you’ve been a victim of a smishing fraud, then you also need to report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or by using their online form.
Phishing: If you have received a suspicious email that you’re not quite sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) firstname.lastname@example.org . It will go to the National Cyber Security Centre who will analyse the suspect email and any websites it links to and use any additional information you’ve provided to look for and monitor suspicious activity.
If you think you may have been a victim of fraud as a result of phishing you should also report this to Action Fraud.
If you need further advice, contact Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133. The helpline adviser can:
- give you practical and impartial advice on how to resolve your consumer problem
- tell you the law which applies to your situation
- pass information about complaints on to Trading Standards (you can’t do this yourself)
However, the adviser can’t:
- make a complaint for you
- take legal action on your behalf
More information here.
If you receive written correspondence you believe to be from fraudsters, you can forward it to Royal Mail with a covering letter to: Freepost Scam Mail, Exeter EX1 9UN. You can also email email@example.com or call 0800 011 3466.