We've all heard about someone that's been scammed: sometimes it's just an annoyance but, in some cases, it can have devastating financial consequences. Scams targeting the elderly and vulnerable are carried out on the phone, online or through the post and may involve the victim attempting to use money transfer services to send money to the scammer. All too often the vulnerable don't realise they are a victim of crime.

  • If you or someone you know is a victim of a scam, get in touch with ActionFraud on 0300 123 2040 or click here.

  • If you have information about someone running a scam, tell us.

What are postal, online and telephone scams?


What is a medical scam?

Scammers promise miracle tablets or other medical cures that claim to offer unbelievable results but they leave victims out of pocket with the potential of damage to their health.

What is an advance fee scam?

You may receive a letter or email offering a payment if you can get money to the sender. The scammer might claim to be somebody official like a lawyer or accountant and promise to give a portion of the money in return for help with the transfer but you'll never see the promised payment.

What is an inheritance scam?

Victims are told that they are receiving a large inheritance from a long lost relative and that they must send money for taxes or fees before they receive any money.

What is a prize draw or sweepstake scam?

Victims are contacted by phone or email stating that they have won the lottery in another country and need to send money for taxes or an administration fee before their winnings can be released.

What is romance fraud?

Con artists lower defences by building an online relationship and targeting emotions, before subsequently requesting money


Victims of scams

These stories of scam victims were provided by the Post Office. The names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved:

  • Derek attempted to send £230 to a female in Ghana. The customer had never met the female and stated that he had been speaking to her since Christmas. 
  • Gwen attempted to send money having received a call from ‘the government’ and been told that she was eligible for an £8000 grant as she had paid her taxes and was a good UK citizen. The customer was informed that she would receive the amount once she sent £210 to them to release it. 
  • Elsie attempted to send money to TalkTalk, having received a phone call asking her if she was having problems with her internet connection, which she was. The caller said they would send her a new router and compensate her for £200. The caller then informed the customer that they had put £2000 into her bank account, which she confirmed she had seen in her account via online banking. She was asked to return £1600 to Thailand. The caller told the customer that they would lose their job if she did not repay the money.

Crimestoppers cannot take information from victims of scams. If you or someone you know is a victim of a scam, get in touch with ActionFraud on 0300 123 2040 or click here.

Stopping postal, online and telephone scams

PO For Website

We're working with Post Office Limited to prevent elderly victims like Derek, Doreen, Gwen and Elsie from being scammed like this. By contacting us with information about those running postal, online or telephone scams, you can't be tracked or traced. This is the case whether you call us on 0800 555 111 or use our Anonymous Online Form.