If you have found out that you have fallen victim to a scam, don’t panic. It is very important that you stay calm and contact the right people and do the right thing. If you panic and make a mistake, it could be a lot more difficult to resolve the issue and recover what you have lost.
In the event that there is financial loss, there is a possibility that you won’t get back the money you’ve lost. But, it is important to always report it, number one to help yourself, but number two to help others who may fall for the same thing.
Where no money has been lost and no personal or bank details have been exposed
- If you have received a phishing email, report the scam to the email provider by clicking the ‘report’ button at the top of the page when the email is open.
You can open the email but do not click on anything and do not send it to anyone else.
- Report it to Action Fraud UK (www.actionfraud.police.uk). There is a section specifically designed where you can report phishing attempts.
- Delete the email as soon as possible. You should also make as many other people as you can aware of the scam so they don’t fall for it.
Where money has been lost and/or you have exposed personal or bank details
- As soon as you are aware you have been scammed, immediately report it to Action Fraud, either via their online reporting tool or over the phone. Make sure you report it as a crime.
Your report will be passed on to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau where they decided if there is enough information to pass it on to the police.
- If you have handed over your bank details, contact your bank or card provider immediately and ask them to cancel the card. They will advise you on the next steps to take, however, you should keep a very close eye on your banking activity so you will be aware straight away of any unauthorised transactions.
Lost or Stolen Bank and Credit Cards
- If you have lost your bank or credit card, you should immediately report it to your bank or card company and ask them to cancel the card and send you a new one. They will advise you on the next steps to take.
- If the card is stolen, including your wallet or handbag, you need to do the above but also report it to the police as theft.
- Your bank or card providers should always give you a refund for any transactions that take place after you have reported your card as missing. You may be liable to pay the first £50 of unauthorised transactions before the card was reported if it takes you a number of days to report it. This is often waved if you acted quickly and you were not negligent in any way.
Identity theft happens when a criminal has gathered enough information about you to start authorising transactions or committing crimes in your name. This information is usually your; full name, home address and date of birth.
- The first rule when you find out your identity has been stolen is to act fast. The quicker you act, the less damage that can be done.
- If the theft involves your bank details, inform your bank immediately. They will then be responsible for investigating the issue and reporting it to the police if any criminal activity has taken place.
- Most criminals will gather your information from online hacking or previous data breaches. However, if you believe that they have stolen your information from another source, you need to contact the right organisation. For example, if you believe your post is being stolen or redirected, contact the Royal Mail who have an investigation unit. Likewise, if your passport or driving license has been stolen, contact the provider and inform them of the situation.
- If you are not signed up to a credit report service already, this is something important to do. Most criminals will steal peoples’ identity so they are able to commit some kind of financial fraud like taking out a loan in your name.
If you look at your credit report you will be able to see the following; whether a credit search has been performed by a lender, when the searches took place, what type of loans have been applied for and if any credit accounts or bank accounts have been set up in your name.
If you spot any fraudulent applications or defaults on loans that wasn’t you, the credit reference agency will be able to inform the lender so you credit history will be brought back to its former state.
These organisations can help if you have been a victim of fraud
- Financial Conduct Authority - www.fca.org.uk, up-to-date advice on current scams including investments, credit cards and mortgages, plus guidance on compensation.
- Pensionwise - www.pensionwise.gov.uk/scams, guidance on how to avoid pension scams such as "early release" of funds. See also The Pensions Advisory Service, www.gov.uk/pensions-advisory-service
- The Insurance Fraud Bureau - www.insurancefraudbureau.org, includes advice on tackling criminals such as “ghost brokers” selling non-existent insurance.
- British Insurance Brokers Association - www.biba.org.uk, advice on finding a reputable professional for your insurance needs.
- Citizens’ Advice Bureau - www.citizensadvice.org.uk, up-to-the-minute advice and information on recognising and dealing with scams and fraud.
- Financial Fraud Action - www.financialfraudaction.co.uk, works to fight fraud on behalf of the payments industry
- CIFAS - www.cifas.org.uk, a not-for-profit company working to protect individuals and organisations from financial crime.
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