Personal fraud and how to prevent it
Fraud is when a person lies to you, or ‘scams’ you, to gain an advantage, such as taking your money or learning private information about you. This could be via email, text, phone or in person, either on the street or on your doorstep.
Some adults may be especially vulnerable to fraud and financial abuse. If you’re concerned about someone you know, contact your local social services and ask for Adult Social Care.
With a little knowledge you can protect yourself from fraudsters too:
- Learn the ten golden rules to prevent fraud (see below).
- Find out about the most common types of fraud.
- Download the Metropolitan Police's The Little Book of Big Scams (see download below) to find out more
For more information and help and to report fraud, go to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre.
Ten golden rules to prevent fraud
Remember these ten golden rules to help you prevent fraud and beat the scammers.
- Be suspicious of all ‘too good to be true’ offers and deals. There are no guaranteed get-rich-quick schemes.
- Don’t agree to offers or deals immediately. Insist on time to get independent or legal advice before making a decision.
- Don’t hand over money or sign anything until you’ve checked someone’s credentials and their company’s.
- Never send money to anyone you don’t know or trust, whether in the UK or abroad, or use methods of payment you’re not comfortable with.
- Never give banking or personal details to anyone you don’t know or trust. This information is valuable so make sure you protect it.
- Always log on to a website directly rather than clicking on links in an email.
- Don’t just rely on glowing testimonials. Find solid, independent evidence of a company’s success.
- Always get independent or legal advice if an offer involves money, time or commitment.
- If you spot a scam or have been scammed, report it and get help. Contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at Action Fraud. Call us on 101 if you know the suspect or they’re still in the area. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service on 18001 101.
- Don’t be embarrassed about reporting a scam. Because the scammers are cunning and clever there’s no shame in being deceived. By reporting it, you'll make it more difficult for them to deceive others.
Get help or report a scam
Reporting crime, including fraud, is important. If you don’t tell the authorities, how do they know it’s happened and how can they do anything about it?
Remember that if you’re a victim of a scam or an attempted scam, however minor, there may be hundreds or thousands of others in a similar position. Your information may form part of one big jigsaw and be vital to completing the picture.