Other Fraud

There are many different ways in which fraudsters will try to take your belongings or money. You can find a useful A-Z of Fraud on the Action Fraud website.

Here are just a few of the scams that have been reported to us....

Please be aware of a scam where fraudsters contact victims claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and trick them into paying bogus debts and taxes using iTunes gift cards.

A fraudster will cold call you on a landline, claiming to be from the Inland Revenue, HMRC, the Tax Office and more recently, PPI. They tell you in order to pay or receive your award, you need to buy iTunes vouchers - usually a large amount. This is not true - hang up your phone now.

In order to reassure you that they are genuine, they will even tell you of shops local to you where you can buy them from - this is a fraudster's trick, they are expert in gaining your trust.

They then ask you to reveal and read out the code on the back of the voucher for verification purposes. DO NOT give them the code. This gives them access to the voucher and you have lost any money you have paid for it.

Once you have given the activation code over the phone - you will not hear from or see them again.
Finally, they tell you someone will come and give you your money in exchange for the i-tunes voucher. NO-ONE will deliver any money to you.

How to protect yourself: 

  • HMRC will never use texts to tell you about a tax rebate or penalty or ever ask for payment in this way.
  • Telephone numbers and text messages can easily be spoofed. You should never trust the number you see on your telephones display. 
  • If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately.

To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use their online fraud reporting tool.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has noticed a trend in fraudsters impersonating public sector bodies and placing orders with businesses that have an existing supply relationship.

This type of mandate fraud relies on the relationship between the business and the public body, as well as payment terms being agreed and the product being delivered before payment is required.

How it works

Businesses are usually contacted by fraudsters on the phone who spark interest by wanting to place large purchase orders. 

The scammers then switch and start to communicate with the businesses via email, consistent with previous dealings with the real public sector body.

The prior working relationship with the real public body is why this scam is so convincing. The fraudsters also keep all the correspondence, details and logos the same. 

Once the purchase terms have been agreed, the fraudsters schedule a delivery to addresses where they can intercept the delivery. In order to cover their tracks and not arouse suspicion they will usually choose closed Fire and Police Stations. 

Prevention and protection top tips

  • Compare email addresses and other details to previous correspondence
  • Be aware if there has been a period of time between purchase orders. If in doubt request clarification from an alternatively sourced email address/phone number
  • Don't be afraid to question when you are dealing with a public body representative that you have not previously dealt with
  • Don't be afraid to question when the delivery address differs from the historical ones

To report a fraud and receive a Police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use Action Fraud's online fraud reporting tool.

Fraudsters posing from legitimate companies, such as your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or Microsoft, claim that they will try and fix your computer for a fee. They may cold call you to offer this 'service', or create fraudulent websites, pop-ups or add ins in order to lure you into calling them. What they are really after is remote access to your computer and financial details.

Never install any software, visit a website, reveal any personal or financial details as a result of a cold call or browser pop-up.

If you have been a victim of computer software service fraud, report it to Action Fraud.

Even if you were able to recognise that it was a fraud and didn't lose any money, you should still report it to Action Fraud. Details such as the phone number you were called from, or the software or website they asked you to use, can help the police to disrupt criminal networks and arrest the individuals responsible.

Fraudsters are sending e-mails to students, claiming they've been awarded an educational grant by the Department for Education.

The email says it has come from the Finance Department of the student’s university and tricks the student into clicking on a link in the message to provide personal and banking details.

One victim reported that after submitting their sensitive information (including name, address, date of birth, contact details, telephone provider, bank account details, student ID, national insurance number, driving licence number and mother’s maiden name), they were taken to a spoofed website which appeared like a genuine website of their bank, where they were asked to type in their online banking login credentials.

  • Do not click on any links or open attachments.
  • Do not reply to scam emails or contact the senders.
  • Contact the company via another method to confirm they've sent you the email. 
  • If you have clicked on a link in the email, do not supply any information on the website that may open.

If you think you may have compromised the safety of your bank details and/or have lost money due to fraudulent misuse of your cards, you should immediately contact your bank and report it to Action Fraud 

Scammers have been calling residents pretending to be from their bank or building society or even the police. They say their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment on your card or it is due to expire and needs to be replaced. They might suggest that you hang up and redial the number of their bank or police force to reassure you that they’re genuine. However, they don’t disconnect the call from the landline so that when you dial the real phone number, you’re still speaking to the same fraudster.

They’ll then ask you to read out your credit or debit card PIN or type it on your phone keypad. They may ask for details of other accounts you hold with the bank or elsewhere to grab more information.

Then they promise to send a courier to you to collect your bank card. The fraudster will have your name, address, full bank details, card and its PIN, and withdraw cash using the card and may even use the information to commit identity fraud in your name.

Protect yourself

  • Your bank or the police will never call you to ask you to verify your personal details or PIN by phone or offer to pick up your card by courier. Hang up if you get a call like this.
  • If you need to call your bank back to check, wait five minutes; fraudsters may stay on the line after you hang up. Alternatively, use a different line altogether to call your bank.
  • Your debit/credit card is yours - don’t let a stranger take it off you. You should only ever have to hand it over at your bank. If it’s cancelled, you should destroy it yourself.

How to report it

Report is to Action Fraud. You can also call us on 101.

If you’ve given your bank details over the phone or handed your card to a courier, call your bank straight away to cancel the card.

Facility takeover or account takeover is similar to identity theft but instead of stealing your identity and pretending to be you to open bank or credit accounts, the fraudsters hijack your existing accounts.

For fraudsters looking to commit identity fraud or account takeover fraud, the products most likely to be targeted - in both cases - are bank accounts and plastic cards.

In over 50% of cases, takeovers were attempted over the telephone, so be aware and never give details out over the phone (or on-line). A legitimate organisation would never ask for your PIN or password.

How to protect yourself:

  • If you use social networking sites, limit the amount of personal information you give away and activate tough privacy settings.
  • Only enter your personal details into secure websites (look for https:// at the start of the website address and a closed padlock symbol on your web browser window), belonging to organisations you know and trust.
  • Make sure your computer has an up-to-date firewall and is protected by anti-virus and antispyware programmes.
  • Beware of emails ‘phishing’ for personal details - these often direct you to realistic-looking but fake websites set up to steal your identity.
  • Check the credentials of anyone asking for your personal information, whether by phone, face-to-face or over the internet. If in doubt, don’t do it!
  • Never share your passwords or PIN with other people.
  • If you move home, redirect your post for at least six months.
  • Shred any documents that contain your information before you throw them away, preferably using a cross-cut shredder.

What should you do if you’ve been a victim?

  • Contact all the various companies you have accounts with, like bank accounts, credit cards, store cards, phones and utility providers and let them know. They will monitor your accounts for unusual activity.
  • Credit agencies, such as Equifax and Experian can provide steps to resolve the situation and prevent it happening again
  • Contact the UK’s fraud Prevention service, CIFAS (https://www.cifas.org.uk/). They will place a note on your credit file that your identity may be used illegally
  • Report it to Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre. You can do this on-line by going to http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by calling 0300 123 2040
  • We’re always here to help. You can call us on 101 or 999 in an emergency. You can also contact Connect Gwent, our victims hub on 0300 123 21 33 or by visiting http://www.connectgwent.org.uk/

Application fraud happens when an account or application is set up in your name, using fake or stolen documents. The account is then used to withdraw cash, gain credit or defraud you in other ways.

How to protect yourself:

  • Do everything you can to protect yourself against identity theft
  • Keep your details private and store sensitive documents in a secure place. If you don’t need a letter or document any more, shred it; don’t just tear it up and put it in the bin.
  • Always keep a close eye on your finances and credit score.
  • Keep an eye out of for direct debits or subscriptions on your account that you haven’t set up, such as mobile phone bills

What should you do if you’ve been a victim?

  • Contact all the various companies you have accounts with, like bank accounts, credit cards, store cards, phones and utility providers and let them know. They will monitor your accounts for unusual activity.
  • Credit agencies, such as Equifax and Experian can provide steps to resolve the situation and prevent it happening again
  • Contact the UK’s fraud Prevention service, CIFAS (https://www.cifas.org.uk/). They will place a note on your credit file that your identity may be used illegally
  • Report it to Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre. You can do this on-line by going to http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by calling 0300 123 2040
  • We’re always here to help. You can call us on 101 or 999 in an emergency. You can also contact Connect Gwent, our victims hub on 0300 123 21 33 or by visiting http://www.connectgwent.org.uk/

Online Shopping and Auction Fraud can happen when buying or selling something in an online auction or marketplace, such as eBay, Gumtree or Etsy. This type of fraud can also happen when specific websites are created in order to ‘sell’ goods to victims. The victim either does not receive the goods and is not provided with a refund, receives entirely different goods to what was originally purchased, or receives goods in a different condition than described at the time of purchase. When victims do receive goods, they often discover there is no way of returning them or having their money refunded.

Conversely, victims selling goods receive no payment at all after sending the goods to the suspect.

Fraudsters can be either the seller and buyer. As a seller, they will often use a fake e-mail address or it will be no longer available, after the fraud. Their postal address is also unknown or found to be a PO box. As a buyer, the payment cards are found to be fraudulent or stolen and therefore declined, or the suspect can sometimes ask for a certain type of shipping for tax avoidance purposes.

Things to look out for:

  • Victims buying an item online are asked to pay by bank transfer only to find that the goods do not arrive and the funds are not held with PayPal.
  • Victims selling an item online are duped into sending the goods after receiving a spoofed email of the funds being paid into their account.
  • These types of sale are almost always on-line. In the vast majority of reports either an online sales platform or social networking site was used.

How to protect yourself

If you’re a buyer...

  • Make sure you understand how the website’s feedback function works. Feedback will give you useful information about recent transactions other buyers have made.
  • Check the item's description carefully – ask the seller questions if you’re not sure of something.
  • Beware of people offering you a deal below the current bid or reserve price, especially if they contact you direct. Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Be extremely careful when buying things from people with little or no selling history.
  • Be aware of phishing emails that look like they come from the online auction or payment site you’re registered with, asking you to update your account details or re-enter them because your account has been suspended.
  • Check the URL in the web browser. A tactic often used by fraudsters is to change the address very slightly (if they’re spoofing an eBay site, for instance, they may have an address such as ‘. . . @ebayz.com’ whereas the real site is ‘. . . @ebay.com’)
  • Read the terms and conditions carefully, including those relating to any dispute resolution procedures the site offers.
  • If you bid for an item unsuccessfully, don’t be tempted to trade off-site if another seller approaches you with a similar item.
  • Try to avoid paying by money transfers - they aren’t secure.
  • Be careful when using direct banking transactions to pay for goods. Make sure transactions are secure.
  • Don’t send confidential personal or financial information by email.
  • Use an online payment option such as PayPal, which helps to protect you.

If you’re a seller....

  • Be wary of accepting payment by cheque. Even though it may clear, you are still liable if the cheque is forged or stolen.
  • Don’t accept a cheque for a higher amount and refund the difference. This is a common fraud that only comes to light when the buyers’ cheque turns out to be stolen or forged.
  • Don’t send any goods until you are sure the payment is in your account.

What should you do if you become a victim?

  • If the seller has misrepresented the goods you’ve bought, report the fraud to Action Fraud.
  • Keep all evidence of the offence, including goods and correspondence. 
  • If there is a business dispute over the nature of the transaction, contact the website involved. Or, you can alert Consumer Direct by phone on 08454 04 05 06.

Bank card and cheque fraud happens when criminals steal your cards or chequebook and gain access to funds in your account.

Criminals steal your bank cards or cheque book; or they obtain your card or account details, allowing them to take money from your account or run up credit in your name. You’ll usually notice this by seeing unfamiliar transactions on your statements, or suddenly finding that you’ve exceeded your overdraft limit or credit limit and your card is refused when you try to make a purchase.

Here are some of the ways a fraudster could steal money from you:

ATM (cash machine) fraud

A fraudster uses a device to capture your card information as you are withdrawing money from an ATM. The fraudster then uses this information to take money from your account in a shop, online or from an ATM.

Counterfeit cards

A fraudster counterfeits your bank card by using a device to capture the card and account information embedded in your card’s magnetic strip. This is often known as ‘skimming’. The fraudster then uses this information to carry out fraudulent transactions in countries where chip and PIN technology is not supported.

The fraudster may also use this information in transactions where the card doesn’t have to be physically seen by the retailer or merchant. For example, when shopping online; buying goods by telephone or mail order; or using cardholder activated terminals, such as ticket machines.

Lost or stolen card fraud

In this case, fraudsters use your card before you are able to report it as lost or stolen. A new or replacement card may also be stolen before you receive it. For example, if you have moved address recently and not had your mail redirected; or if your mail is delivered to a communal mailbox.

Identity fraud

A fraudster may have stolen enough information about your identity and financial affairs to take over your account or to impersonate you. The fraudster will gain access to your account after getting through security online, at a bank branch or call centre, or by teaming up with someone inside the organisation that holds your account. If the fraudster can impersonate you, he or she will open accounts in your name and then defraud them.

Cheque fraud

Cheque fraud operates in a number of ways. For example, a fraudster pays you for goods or services using a stolen cheque; or deposits a fraudulent or stolen cheque into your account; or steals individual cheques or a cheque book from you.

Are you a victim of bank card or cheque fraud?

Your cards or chequebook have been stolen or faked and you notice unfamiliar transactions on your statement, or you find out that your overdraft limit is suddenly exceeded.

What should you do if you’ve been a victim of bank card or cheque fraud?

  • Immediately report lost or stolen cards or suspected fraudulent use of your card to your card company. You should also report lost or stolen cheque books or any missing cheques. Banks and companies have 24-hour emergency numbers printed on account statements.
  • Report the offence to the relevant bank or card company, which will then be responsible for reporting the matter to the police. If the theft of your cards or cheques involved another crime – for example, if your bag was also stolen – you should make sure it is reported to the police.
  • If a fraudulent account has been set up in your name and you don’t have a relationship with that bank or card company, you can report the fraud directly to Action Fraud.
  • Remember to keep a record of all communications.
  • Get a copy of your personal credit report from a credit reference agency.
  • Consider contacting CIFAS – the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service to apply for protective registration. Once you have registered, CIFAS members will carry out extra checks whenever anyone applies for a financial service using your name and address.

Protect yourself against bank card and cheque fraud

Keep all your cards and financial details safe:

  • look after your cards and card details at all times. Try not to let your card out of your sight when making a transaction
  • check receipts against statements carefully. Contact your card company immediately if you find an unfamiliar transaction
  • store your statements, receipts and financial documents safely and destroy them, preferably using a shredder, when you dispose of them
  • sign any new cards as soon as they arrive
  • cut expired cards through the magnetic strip and chip when replacement cards arrive.

Secure your PIN:

  • memorise your PIN and destroy any paper notification as soon as you receive it
  • ensure that you’re the only person that knows your PIN. Never write it down or record it. Your bank or the police will never phone you and ask you to disclose your PIN
  • when entering your PIN, use your free hand and your body to shield the number from prying eyes or hidden cameras. If you think someone has seen your PIN or if you want to change it to something more memorable, you can change it at a cash machine (ATM) or by contacting your bank.

Take care when using cash machines:

  • put your personal safety first. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, cancel the transaction and use a different machine
  • if you spot anything unusual about the cash machine, or if there are signs of tampering, don’t use it. Report it to the bank concerned immediately
  • be alert. If someone is crowding or watching you, cancel the transaction and go to another machine. Don’t accept help from seemingly well-meaning strangers and never allow yourself to be distracted
  • once you’ve completed a transaction, put your money and card away before leaving the cash machine. If the cash machine doesn’t return your card, report its loss immediately to your card company. Destroy or preferably shred your cash machine receipt, mini-statement or balance enquiry when you dispose of them.

Take extra care when using cards abroad.

Before you go away:

  • only take cards with you that you intend to use; leave others in a secure place at home
  • make sure you have made a note of your card company’s 24-hour contact phone number
  • make sure your card company has up-to-date contact details for you, including a mobile number if possible
  • if your cards are registered with a card protection agency, ensure you have their contact number and your policy number with you.

When you are away:

  • take the same precautions as you would in the UK. Look after your cards and card details, and shield your PIN with your free hand when typing it into a keypad in a shop or at a cash machine
  • consider wearing a concealed money belt to keep your cards, cash and traveller’s cheques safe.

When you get back:

  • check your card statements carefully for unfamiliar transactions
  • if there are any, report them to your card company as soon as possible.

When banking online:

  • make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed. Think about using anti-spyware software. Download the latest security updates, known as patches, for your browser and for your operating system
    o before you bank online, ensure that the locked padlock or unbroken key symbol is showing in your browser. When a connection is secure, the beginning of your bank’s internet address should change from ‘http’ to https’
  • be wary of unsolicited emails - known as phishing emails - asking for  personal  financial information. Your bank or the police would never contact you to ask you to disclose your PIN
  • ensure your browser is set to the highest level of security notification and monitoring. The safety options are not always activated by default when you install your computer.
  • always access internet banking sites by typing the bank’s address into your web browser. Never go to a website from a link in an email and then enter your personal details.

When shopping online:

  • sign up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode whenever you’re given the option while shopping online. This involves you registering a password with your card company
  • only shop on secure sites. Before submitting your card details, ensure the locked padlock or unbroken key symbol is showing in your browser. The retailer’s internet address will change from ‘http’ to ‘https’ when a connection is secure
  • never send your PIN over the internet
  • print out your order and keep copies of the retailer's terms and conditions, returns policy, delivery conditions, postal address (not a post office box) and phone number (not a mobile number).


Stop and Think!

  • Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full banking password
  • Don't assume an email, text or phone call is authentic
  • Don't be rushed - a genuine organisation won't mind waiting
  • Listen to your instincts - you know if something doesn't feel right
  • Stay in control - don't panic and make a decision you'll regret

Find out more