All fraud information on these pages comes from advice given by Action Fraud.

Gambling fraud

Gambling fraud happens when a person is involved in the fixing of odds or results in order to deceive bookmakers. This fraud involves fixing races and other sports where wagers have been made.

Government agency scams

A government agency scam is when fraudsters send out official looking letters or emails giving the impression that they are from a government department to obtain money or personal information. The letter or email might advise that you to register in order to comply with some kind of legislation – for a fee. Other methods include asking you to pay a fine for a breach of the law, or requesting bank details to claim a tax rebate.

Scammers will try to exploit a lack of knowledge about business regulations and procedures for their own financial gain. If you are worried you might fall victim to this scam always check with the official government department first to find out if the communication you have received is actually from them.

Guardian’s Allowance fraud

Guardian's Allowance is a tax-free payment for people who are bringing up children whose parents have died. This type of fraud happens when a person knowingly gives incorrect or misleading information in order to receive an allowance they are not entitled to. This fraud can happen when a person receives benefits when they are no longer looking after the child. Those committing this fraud can be either individuals or organised fraudsters.

Health and medical fraud

Health and medical scams occur when you receive an email or see an advertisement online promising unbelievable results from miracle tablets and other medical cures. This includes health and medical-related products and services that appear to be an approved form of alternative medicine. Fraudsters trick their victims into believing they will be receiving a medical product at a lower price than comparable legitimate products.

Health in Pregnancy Grant fraud

Health in Pregnancy Grant fraud is when a person knowingly gives incorrect or misleading information in order to receive a health in pregnancy grant they are not eligible for. HM Revenue and Customs give a one-off payment to mothers to assist with the costs prior to the birth of their baby. Fraud happens when a person claims this grant for a non-existent person. Those who conduct this type of fraud can be both individuals and organised fraudsters.

Identity theft and fraud

Identity theft is when somebody steals your name and other personal information or your financial information in order to make fraudulent transactions and purchases.

Identity fraud is when that information is used to commit fraud. Identity theft is not a victimless crime:

  • Identity theft can be an upsetting experience for the victim.
  • It can be months before the fraudster's actions are discovered and it can take several months more to sort out the problems created as a result.
  • Identity thieves are often linked to organised criminal networks and money fraudulently obtained by them is used to finance larger scams.

Identity theft scams

Some identity thieves may phone you, claiming to be from your bank. They may ask you for your card numbers and passwords so that they can change them for your protection. Other identity thieves may send emails, telling you that you have won money or a prize. None of your service providers should ever contact you to request passwords or account details. If you have received a phone call or email from a company or service provider you do have business with, but you are not sure if the contact is credible, end the interaction immediately.

Inheritance fraud

Inheritance fraud occurs when someone is falsely informed that someone wealthy has passed away and they are due to receive a large amount of inheritance. Typically, an inheritance fraudster will send a letter or email claiming to be a legal official such as a lawyer from another country. They will give details of a wealthy ‘client’ with the same surname as you who’s recently passed away and has a vast amount of inheritance to be passed on.

The fraudster will claim that they couldn’t track any relatives of the dead person so the inheritance money will automatically go to the government. They will offer an alternative and suggest that, because you share the same surname, the inheritance money could go to you, but with a portion of the money also going to the fraudster. This fraudster will urge you to act quickly due to various regulations and to keep details of the deal to yourself.

Victims of inheritance fraud are asked to pay a number of fees in order for the inheritance money to be released; for example inheritance tax, banking fees, transfer fees and legal fees.

Internet dialler scam

Internet dialler scams happen when computer settings are changed on a person’s computer so their internet is routed to a premium rate telephone line. Once internet diallers are downloaded on your computer, they disconnect from your internet connection and reconnect your telephone line to an international phone number, at a very expensive rate. A large majority of internet users in the UK still use modems to connect to the internet. If you are using your telephone to connect to the internet then you need to be very careful.

Insolvency-related fraud

Insolvency-related fraud occurs when a company fraudulently trades before being declared bankrupt. This can also include phoenix companies. Bankruptcy and insolvency related fraud also includes illegal trading while disqualified or suspended. If a person is declared bankrupt businesses are affected by fraud as they may have given credit to an individual. A phoenix company is usually formed overnight after insolvency of another company with the assets of the original company transferred to the new one. All of the previous debts are wiped off in the process. The directors usually remain in the same place and the new company will sometimes operate in the same way as the previous one did, and may even use a similar name.

Insurance broker scams

Insurance broker fraud is when a person takes out insurance cover from someone falsely claiming to be an insurance broker. Fake insurance companies defraud the public by collecting premiums, but not actually paying out money when claims have been made.In some extreme cases a fake insurance company will provide you with documents that look real.

Investment fraud

Investment fraud happens when a fraudster targets individuals with a convincing argument to make them part with their savings. These to good too be true opportunities usually want you to invest your money in a company or opportunity which seems to be offering very high rates of return. One of the most common types of investment frauds are pyramid schemes.

Invoice fraud

Invoice Fraud is where a genuine invoice from a supplier is intercepted by fraudsters who then change the bank details on the invoice to an account under their control. The unwitting business then settles the invoice to the phony account and the fraud is only discovered when the genuine supplier contacts the business regarding non-payment. Fraudsters will look to take advantage of existing relationships between businesses and suppliers that they are aware of with regular payments being made by contacting the business, under the guise of the known and trusted supplier, to inform them of a change of bank details.

Invoice scams

Invoice scams occur when you receive an invoice requesting payment for goods or services to a fake company. These invoices may state that you are past the due date for payment and threaten that non-payment will affect your credit rating. The invoices are fake and are for services and goods you have not ordered or received. Some examples of invoice scams are domain renewal notices or stationery orders. The scammers will rely on the fact that you might not notice a small payment going out.