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Fraud costs the UK economy billions every year – with people being conned out of hundreds or even thousands of pounds.
Scams are becoming more widespread and harder to spot, with fraudsters often creating an intricate web of deceit to catch people out – resulting in increasing numbers of people being targeted each year. Learning how to spot fraud is an important step in protecting yourself from falling victim to the scammers.


Cost of Fraud


1 million +

incidents of financial fraud in the first six months of 2016

every 15 seconds

someone in the UK was defrauded between January and June 2016

£755 million

lost to financial fraud in 2015, an increase of 26% in 12 months

The most common types of fraud


Phone scams (Vishing)

Fraudsters will claim to be from a genuine organisation, such as your bank or even the police and will ask for personal and financial information in order to gain access to your account.

Phishing and Smishing

Fraudsters often use email (phishing) and text message (smishing) contact as a way to contact and trap people into sharing their details.


An email fraud where a scammer will ask you to make an urgent payment while pretending to be someone else – usually a friend, relative or possibly a senior person at a company.

Identity fraud

Where fraudsters steal enough information about you to take over your accounts or to impersonate you.

Online scams

These often impersonate pages which look like a payment or your online banking log in page.

Romance fraud

Scammers will pretend to be someone romantically interested in the victim, before tricking them into handing over money or confidential details.
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Top tips on how to protect yourself from fraud

Check your statements

This may seem obvious, but make sure to regularly look through your statements for any suspicious transactions. Though, look closely as fraudsters will often first purchase something small with your bank or credit account to check you won’t notice larger scale theft.

Check your credit report

Checking your credit report regularly is a good way to keep an eye out for fraud, because it gives you a snapshot of your financial history and all your credit accounts. You can see any recent applications made for credit in your name, spot any unfamiliar accounts or debts immediately.

Destroy documents that hold personal information

Make sure to destroy any documents that hold personal information, such as bank statements, payslips and bills before you put them in the bin. This doesn't just apply to financial or official government information, even old catalogues showing your name, address and account number could be of use to identity thieves.

Report missing documents

If important documents like your passport or driving licence are lost or stolen, report it to the relevant organisation as soon as possible. They can then be declared void, which should stop them being potentially used for identity theft or fraud.

Never share your account details

It's good practice to not tell your PIN or passwords to anyone, no matter how much you trust them, and don't write them down anywhere either.

Redirect your mail

It's wise to redirect your mail for at least a year if you move house, to stop any confidential post getting into the wrong hands.

Don't share too much information about yourself

Mentioning details on networks like Facebook that may seem pretty humdrum to you, such as full dates of birth, pets’ and children’s names could put you at risk of identity theft. This is because many of these details are common answers to security questions by banks and lenders seeking to verify your identity.

Register to vote at your current address

The electoral roll is used by credit referencing agencies as an official marker of your address. If you make sure it’s always at your current address then fraudsters will find it harder to claim your identity and borrow in your name at a different address.

Watch out for ‘phishing’

Phishing is a scam to try and obtain your bank details or secure logins, through emails, text or phone-calls claiming to be from your bank. Signs of a phishing email are typically bad grammar and spelling, out of date company logos and most importantly any request for confidential information. However, phishing can be a sophisticated scam that can catch out even the very careful, so be vigilant and report anything suspicious. As a rule, your bank won’t ask for personal information over email or SMS (and will never ask for your full PIN or online account logins).

Keep an eye on your post

If you don't receive important documents in the post you should act immediately. Contact the sender to let them know you haven’t received your post, and keep one eye on your statements and credit report.

Scam stories

It was quite traumatic, I had my account completely drained, it took my bank over a week to refund me and I missed paying my rent.
After scammers bought two macbooks with a clone of my credit card, I found out my post had been intercepted and criminals had made several fraudulent telephone banking attempts.
Someone had cloned my debit card and was using it to spend big in South America, my bank refunded me as soon as I notified them, but I still don't know how the criminals got my details.
Someone managed to steal my identity and applied for credit with my details. The scammers had my name, by bank account details, my address, they had my everything.
My new bank card went missing in the post and when suspicious activity was spotted on my account it was put on lockdown, it took a week before I could get access to my money again.
When I was on holiday my credit card details must have been stolen at a dodgy ATM or till and someone used them to spend on the other side of the world.

Find out more

Identity fraud protection | Credit reports & identity theft protection

Find out how a credit report can protect you from becoming a victim of identity fraud.

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Types of scam

Financial fraud takes on many forms and scammers are always creating new ones, but there are few common scams you should be aware of.

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What can I do if I’m a victim of fraud?

If you’ve been a victim of fraud where you’ve been left out of pocket, you should be able to get your money back.

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Credit card fraud: the biggest card frauds in history

Credit card security has improved but card fraud is still on the rise – we take a look at two of the biggest credit card frauds ever and explain your rights.

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What puts you at risk of being a fraud victim?

Anyone can be a victim of fraud, but there are a few things that put you more at risk.

Read more

Are you #ScamAware?

Take our quiz to find out how much you know about fraud and if you might ever be caught out by a scammer.

What can you do and who can help?

If you’ve had money fraudulently taken from any of your accounts you should be able to get it back. If your bank has not already noticed unusual activity on your accounts, you should immediately notify them so they can investigate.

Under the Payment Services Regulations and Consumer Credit Act your bank or credit card provider should refund any fraudulent transactions as soon as possible, or waive any debts.

As you have been a victim of a crime you should also report the fraud to ActionFraud, the police’s fraud investigation department.

Get the infographic

With millions of people falling victim to fraud every year, fight back against the fraudsters by downloading and sharing our infographic to help people become #ScamAware.

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