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Dealing with fraud

Dealing with fraudFraud can be upsetting, frustrating and expensive. Find out what you can do to avoid it, and what to do if it happens to you.

What is fraud?

Fraud is a crime in which the criminal uses deception to get something from you - usually money. They could be tricking you directly, or fooling someone else into thinking they are you in order to get access to your money.

Examples of fraud

There are a huge number of different scams that fraudsters will use to try to part you from your money. Being familiar with some of them can help you to spot when an offer is too good to be true. Here are a few examples:

  • Advance fee fraud: You are asked to pay up-front for something you never get. This could be a deposit on a flat that isn't really available or 'administration fees' for a prize draw you haven't entered.
  • Phishing: You receive an email that claims to be from your bank or a website you have an account with, asking you to follow a link and log in. The link goes to a fake version of the website - when you type in your details, they're sent to the fraudsters.
  • Fake products: Some fraudsters simply sell you a product that doesn't work properly, such as diet pills, broken goods or an empty box.
  • Get rich quick schemes: These offer a chance to make money easily, as long as you put in an initial investment. The fraudster takes your money, and the profits never show up.

Preventing fraud

  • Be wary of pressure: Fraudsters don't want to give you time to think, so they'll try to ramp up the pressure by telling you that you'll miss your chance if you wait. If someone's pressuring you to agree, take it a sign that you should be suspicious.
  • If it sounds too good to be true... then it probably is. Be very suspicious of any deal that promises too much.
  • Do your research: Many scams are repeated again and again. If you're at all suspicious, search online and ask around to see if the deal is legitimate. If in doubt, say no.
  • Check your accounts: Regularly look over things like bank statements to check there aren't any charges you don't recognize. Sometimes you won't notice you're a victim of fraud until you spot the money has gone out of your account.
  • Guard your information: From your email password to your credit card number, there's lots of information that can be used against you - so look after it. Don't tell anyone your passwords, and shred any documents that contain sensitive information before throwing them away.

If you're a victim of fraud

  • Report it: You can report fraud to ActionFraud either online¬†or by calling 0300 123 2040. This will ensure that the crime is dealt with properly.
  • Contact your bank: If there are fraudulent charges on your bank account or credit card, your bank might be able to get your money back or reimburse you, so contact them as soon as possible.
  • Contact Victim Support: this charity offers free and confidential advice to victims of crime.

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