Report a scam
If you've been scammed, there are organisations you should report the scam to.
Don't feel embarrassed about reporting a scam – scammers are clever and scams can happen to anyone.
Reporting a scam helps track down and stop scammers. This prevents other people from being scammed.
- protect yourself from further risks
- gather all the details of the scam
- report the scam to us
- report the scam to other organisations
Protect yourself from further risks
Coronavirus - be aware of new scams
It's important you're aware of the many new scams around at the moment because of coronavirus. Scams to look out for include:
- advertising face masks or medical equipment at high prices
- emails or texts pretending to be from the government
- emails offering life insurance against coronavirus
- people knocking at your door and asking for money for charity
If you see emails or texts about coronavirus from someone you don't know, or from an unusual email address, don't click on any links or buy anything.
Don't give money or personal details to anyone you don't know or trust - for example someone who knocks on the door and offers to help.
Before you report a scam, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from things getting worse. Check what to do if you've been scammed.
When to call the police
Contact the police immediately by calling 101 if:
- the scammer is in your area
- you've transferred money to the scammer in the last 24 hours
If you feel threatened or unsafe call 999.
Gather all the details of the scam
Write down the details of your scam. This will help you remember all the important information when you report it.
Make sure you include:
- who you've been in contact with – write down 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
Report the scam to us
How you report the scam to us depends on the type of scam it is.
Reporting an online scam
Online scams are scams that use the internet – for example, social media, emails and websites.
Reporting an offline scam
Offline scams are scams that don't use the internet – for example, doorstep or telephone scams.
You can report an offline scam.
What we'll do when you report a scam to us
Once we've got all the information we need, we'll pass this to Trading Standards. We don't investigate scams ourselves.
Trading Standards gathers information about scams so they can take legal action against scammers.
What Trading Standards does
Trading Standards will decide whether to investigate. They might contact you for more information.
Depending on what they find, they could prosecute the scammers or stop them operating.
Even if Trading Standards don't contact you, they might still use your evidence to take action in the future.
Report the scam to other organisations
You should also report scams to other organisations. This increases the chance of scammers being caught and stopped.
You should report all types of scams to Action Fraud, the UK's national reporting centre for fraud.
Action Fraud can get the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to investigate scams. They'll also give you a crime reference number, which can be helpful if you need to tell your bank you've been scammed. Read our advice on trying to get your money back after a scam.
It's quickest to report a scam to Action Fraud online, but you can also report the scam by phone.
Telephone: 0300 123 2040
Textphone: 0300 123 2050
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Calls cost up to 40p a minute from mobiles and up to 10p a minute from landlines. It should be free if you have a contract that includes calls to landlines. Check with your supplier if you're not sure.
There are other organisations you should report your scam to, depending on what's happened.
If you got a scam email
Forward the email to email@example.com. It will go to the National Cyber Security Centre - they might be able to stop other people being scammed.
If you've been scammed through the post
Royal Mail investigates postal scams. If you've received something in the post you think is a scam, send it to 'Freepost Scam Mail'. Include the envelope it came in and a completed scam mail report. You can download a scam mail report from Royal Mail or call them and ask for a form and pre-paid envelope.
Telephone: 0800 011 3466
Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.
If you've seen a scam advert online
You should report an online scam advert to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
You might also be able to report an advert when you see it. For example, Google, Facebook and Instagram let you tell them about scam ads. If you've done this, you can still then report them to the ASA.
If the scam involves financial services
If the scam involves cryptocurrency, investments, insurance or pensions, report it to the Financial Conduct Authority.
If you think you've been scammed into transferring your pension, contact your pension provider immediately. Then get in touch with The Pensions Advisory Service.
If a scammer is imitating a company or person
Contact the real company or person to let them know their name is being falsely used.
A common imitation scam involves emails, texts or calls that seem to be from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). They might tell you about a tax rebate or ask for your personal information. Report HMRC scams.