A Guide to reporting scammers the right way
Millions of pounds are lost to scams in the UK alone each year. Scammers use sophisticated tactics to dupe individuals, charities and even large companies into sending vast amounts of money. The wide range of tactics used in scams mean it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s fake.
At CEL, we understand the importance of reporting your experience with scammers, whether you’ve lost money or not. By registering your scam experiences, organisations can gather data to help identify trends such as locations, age ranges, as well as genders who are typically targeted by scammers.
If a common theme arises in reports of a particular scam, organisations such as Action Fraud can arrange national campaigns to help raise awareness. In 2022, Action Fraud teamed up with ABTA following increasing reports of holiday fraud.
Reporting a scam can help understand the sophisticated tactics used by scammers, including duplicating websites, running social media advertising and high-pressured telephone calls.
How Do I Report a Scam?
Police / Action Fraud
Action Fraud was set up by the City of London Police to help combat the high volumes of scams that are happening across the UK. Action Fraud’s reporting tools allow you to report your fraud or cyber crime using their 24/7 online reporting service or by calling one of their call centre staff.
You can seek help and advice by viewing their A-Z of scams on their website.
Citizens Advice offer an online reporting tool as well. This tool, similar to Action Fraud, allows the organisation or individual to share information regarding the scam/scammer. The information they collect includes:
- who you’ve been in contact with including names, numbers and addresses if you have them
- why you’re suspicious
- what information you’ve shared, for example, passwords, PINs, or bank details
- whether you’ve paid any money
- how you’ve paid, for example, credit card or bank transfer
Although Citizens Advice operates as a scam reporting tool, they don’t investigate the scams themselves; they pass information to Trading Standards who then formally investigate. You can report directly to Trading Standards too.
As mentioned, reporting directly to Trading Standards is possible if you are targeted by a scammer. Unlike Citizens Advice, Trading Standards can take legal action against the scammer so it’s important to relay all information to them as soon as a scammer makes initial contact.
Visit their contact page to report your experience.
Email scams, also known as phishing scams, often attempt to get you to reveal personal information, send money (unknowingly) to scam accounts, or steal your identity.
Email scams are often impersonating a well-known brand and use the company logo to trick individuals into thinking it’s the real deal!
If you’ve received an email which you believe to be a scam, you can forward phishing emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. This email goes directly to the National Cyber Security Centre which then collates information.
Postal scams are another form of an impersonation scam but delivered directly through your postbox rather than via an electronic source.
Royal Mail investigates postal scams. You can post anything that you think might be a scam to ‘Freepost Scam Mail’. Royal Mail asks you to include the original envelope the scam mail came in and a completed scam mail report. You can find out more on the Royal Mail “How to report a scam” page.
If you’ve been targeted by an online advert you can report the advert to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
There is the option to report a scam advert directly to the platform you see it on (Google, Facebook, Instagram etc.) but you can still report this to the ASA.
If the advert includes financial services such as cryptocurrency, investing, insurance or pensions, report it to the Financial Conduct Authority.
If you’ve been contacted directly by someone impersonating a pension provider asking you to move money, then contact your pension provider right away. You can then report this to The Money and Pensions Service, previously known as The Pension Advisory Service.
Similarly, if a scammer is impersonating a company or person, contact the real company or person to let them know their name is being falsely used.
CEL Solicitors offer a free, no-obligation chat to scam victims. We also work on a no-win, no-fee basis so there’s nothing to lose by getting in touch with us today. We speak to hundreds of people each week who’ve gone through the same thing as you, so you’re not alone and you’re certainly not to blame. Call on 0330 822 3757 or apply online to find out how we can help you get your money back from a scam.