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 Fraud and Finance 850x400

There are many distinct types of fraud designed to target vulnerable people and businesses. Action Fraud are the experts on fraud and the place to report.

Action_Fraud_logo_2013 - Action Fraud is the UK's national fraud and internet crime reporting centre. They provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and financially motivated internet crime. If you've been scammed, ripped off or conned, there is something you can do about it - get in touch with them. As pictured their contact number is: 0300 123 2040.

As well as reporting facilities their website offers sections on different types of fraud, various resources and support & prevention. You can also follow Action Fraud on Twitter, or 'like' us on Facebook and keep up-to-date with the latest scams to watch out for. Twitter: @actionfrauduk Facebook: Like/actionfraud

If you're a victim of fraud that is a crime in progress and you need an immediate police response dial 999 or if it is a non-emergency situation call 101.

Identity Theft

Your identity and personal information are valuable. Criminals can find out your personal details and use them to open bank accounts and get credit cards, loans, state benefits and documents such as passports and driving licences in your name.

Our crime prevention advice is:

  • Don’t throw away any documents containing your details – Destroy them by shredding or at least cutting them up.
  • Utility bills are often used to ‘prove’ identity so destroy them when no longer needed.
  • Be aware that unsolicited mail (offers of loans, credit cards, insurance etc) can contain your details – sometimes even your date of birth.
  • Check your bank & credit card statements for anything irregular.  
  • If you think you have become a victim of identity theft contact whoever provided the account involved immediately.
  • Select Here for further advice and information on identity theft  from Action Fraud.

Cash Machine Fraud

The scale of fraud attacks on ATMs is growing at a rapid pace, with attacks being carried out extensively by small organised gangs. Methods employed by these criminals are increasingly sophisticated, so much so that the customer is unaware of its presence until monies have been removed from the account.

Cash_Machine_iStock_000018144154XSmallThe operation involves the acquisition of card details and customer PIN using devices such as door skimmers, a device underneath where the customer swipes the card which captures relevant customer information; or he Lebanese loop, a device placed over the card insert slot and designed to look like part of the original machine, which then traps the card once inserted. Use has also been made of pinhole cameras fitted on the machine to obtain PIN, which was then transmitted, to a receiver linked to a video recorder. The throat device, another device designed to fit over the card insert slot, which reads the magnetic stripe details and is used in connection with the pinhole camera.

Clones are then made of each of these cards with the associated PIN is written on the card. These include store loyalty cards, telephone top up cards etc. Transactions are made until there are no monies left in the account or the account is closed. 

Our crime prevention advice is:

  • Keep your PIN  safe, never write down your PIN number and never disclose it to anyone even if they claim to be from your bank or the police. Neither your bank nor the police would ask you to do this.
  • Place your hand over the keypad when entering your PIN, (to defeat the pinhole camera), shield the numbers with your other hand as you enter them and do not allow yourself to be distracted.
  • When using a cash machine be wary of anyone loitering or trying to watch you, who may be able to view your PIN.
  • If you are at all concerned that something is wrong or suspicious about the cash machine you are using try to stay with it and your card. Ask someone else to go into the bank for you to alert a member of staff or phone the bank/police from the machine. If this is not possible contact your bank and the police ASAP.
  • We would urge anyone who is concerned or would like some more advice to contact his or her bank.

Telephone Scams

Bogus calls designed to convince you to hand over your credit card or bank details are a real problem. Be cautious. If you are contacted by telephone and told that you have won a prize, think for a minute: did you enter any competitions? Odds are you didn't.

phone and card iStock_000073034159_Small

The vast majority of the time, these calls are scams, originating from abroad and designed to convince you to give over personal details such as your bank account number or credit card information.

Just hang up 
If this happens to you, just hang up the phone. If you ever do win, you will never be asked for personal details, nor would you ever have to pay anything in order to collect your winnings - that's a sure sign that something is wrong. Many people have been taken in by these scams, and some have lost their entire life savings.

Don't be one of them.
Never give out personal details over the phone; always ask for more information;  be sure you know who you're talking to;  keep your bank account details safe.

Internet Financial Security

One common one is called phishing, where a ghost site is established and made to look like a regular banking site. An email is received asking people to visit this site, usually by hyperlink to verify financial details.

There are a number of steps computer users can take to protect themselves:

  • credit-card-2077265Remember your financial institution will never ask for your password or user name
  • Never click a hyperlink within an e-mail. Access the page direct. They can be used to cloak other sites.
  • Never contact a company by a telephone number sent in an e-mail unless you know it is genuine from previous experience.
  • 85% of all e-mails sent through the network are spam and many of these are fraudulent.
  • Use up-to-date anti-spam, anti-virus and firewall software. If you are sent Microsoft updates, use them.
  • Use this software to make sure your computer is clean from spyware and adware.

When submitting financial and sensitive details on line, always look at the browser bar. There should be a yellow locked padlock there or the web site address should start – https. This is still no guarantee of security, but if it is not there it is not secure. If you are not sure, don’t open an email.

Ticketing fraud

As the festival season approaches and more gigs appear on the calendar, people will seek to buy tickets for an event. Unfortunately, some become victim to ticket fraud. Please read the below advice to help ensure you get what you paid for.

Only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, the promoter, an official agent or a well-known and reputable ticket exchange site. Should you choose to buy tickets from an individual (for example on eBay or on a social networking site), never transfer the money directly into their bank account but use a secure payment site such as PayPal.

Paying for your tickets by credit card will offer increased protection over other payments methods, such as debit card, cash, or money transfer services. Avoid making payments through bank transfer or money transfer services, as the payment may not be recoverable.

Check the contact details of the site you are buying the tickets from. There should be a landline phone number and a full postal address. Avoid using the site if there is only a PO Box address and mobile phone number, as it could be difficult to get in touch after you buy tickets. PO Box addresses and mobile phone numbers are easy to change and difficult to trace.

Before entering any payment details on a website, ensure that you’re on a secure page by: 1 - Checking that the web address starts with https (the ‘s’ stands for secure). 2 - That there is a locked padlock icon in the browser’s address bar.

If you think you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud, by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting

Wedding services fraud

When booking a wedding there can be so many things to pay for, and money is paid out to different vendors. Many of these services will require booking at least several months in advance and you may be obliged to pay a depost or even the full balance at the time. Being aware of the potential risks and following the below prevention advice could minimise the likelihood of fraud.

  • Paying by Credit Card will provide you protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, for purchases above £100 and £30,000.
  • Social media - While many companies who run on social media are genuine, some may not be insured or may even be fraudulent. Ensure you obtain a physical address and contact details for the vendor and verify this information. Should you experience problems you will then be able to complain to Trading Standards or consider pursuing via the Small Claims Court. Also ensure you obtain a contract before paying for service.
  • Consider purchasing wedding insurance - this can protect you from events that would not be covered under the Consumer Credit Act;
  • Do your research on each vendor - look for reviews and ratings;
  • For services such as wedding photographers, beware of websites using fake images. Look for inconsistencies in style. Meet the photographer and ask to view sample albums. If you like an image from a wedding, ask to view the photographs taken of the whole event so you can see the overall quality;
  • Remember, if something appears too good to be true, it probably is!

Set-top box fraud

You may not think twice about buying a set-top box, but unfortunately, these can be adapted by criminals who then steal your details to commit fraud. Follow the below steps to help prevent you falling victim:

  • Only purchase set-top / streaming boxes from recognised outlets;
  • Contact your bank if you notice any suspicious transactions on your accounts;
  • When signing up to websites / internet services, use a password or PIN you have not used elsewhere;
  • Enable 2-Factor Authentication on your important accounts (i.e. email / banking / social media)