Reporting a scam
If you have fallen victim to a scam, make sure you report it. You may not always be able to get your money back, but you might be able to reduce the damage and take steps to stop it happening again – to you or other people.
Scams are crimes and should be reported to Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre (0300 123 2040). They also have a separate form for reporting online phishing scams or computer viruses that you’ve received but haven’t fallen victim to. Phishing is when scammers fish for your personal information, such as bank details or passwords, or promise rewards for an upfront fee.
Certain scams can also be reported to Trading Standards using the Citizens Advice consumer helpline (03454 04 05 06). Trading Standards looks at cases where companies have acted illegally or unfairly – for example, if they’ve pressured you into buying something you didn’t want.
If a crime is in progress, or you or someone else is in immediate danger, this is an emergency and you should phone the police on 999.
If you have been the victim of a scam, it can be extremely distressing, but support is available. Victim Support is an independent charity that supports victims of crime or traumatic events. When you report a scam to Action Fraud, they will ask if they can pass your details to Victim Support, who will then contact you to offer emotional and practical support. You can also contact Victim Support directly (0808 168 9111).
You may also find it helpful to talk to family and friends, or you can call Samaritans for confidential emotional support on 116 123.
Avoiding scams in the future
Make sure you protect yourself against future scams. Take a look at our information on spotting and avoiding scams for some simple tips on keeping your money and personal details secure. Be aware that scammers sometimes target people they know have already lost money to scams. They might claim to be an organisation that can help to get your money back in exchange for an upfront fee. Genuine law enforcement agencies would never ask for a fee to recover the money you have lost.
Getting your money back
You won’t always be able to get your money back if you’ve been scammed. If you know that you’ve been tricked into revealing personal information or banking details, or if you notice suspicious withdrawals from your account, contact your bank immediately. You might have more protection if you’ve paid for something by credit card.
The Money Advice Service has more advice on getting your money back if you have been the victim of a scam or identity theft.