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Fraud and scams

Fraud is a criminal activity committed by those acting in a deceitful way.  There are many different types of fraud, but all have the same principles.

What is fraud?

Fraud is when trickery is used to gain a dishonest advantage, which is often financial, over another person.

There are many words used to describe fraud: scam, con, swindle, extortion, sham, double-cross, hoax, cheat, ploy, ruse, hoodwink, confidence trick.

Individuals and businesses can be victims of fraud.

Types of fraud can include:

  • bank account fraud
  • benefit fraud
  • business trading fraud
  • charity donation fraud
  • computer software service fraud
  • dating fraud
  • doorstep fraud
  • employment fraud
  • gambling fraud
  • holiday fraud
  • identity fraud and identify theft
  • insurance fraud
  • lottery scams
  • mortgage fraud
  • online fraud
  • property fraud
  • ticket scams

For a full list of the types of fraud, have a look at Action Fraud’s A-Z of fraud.

Operation Signature

Operation Signature is the force campaign to identify and support vulnerable victims of fraud in Lincolnshire. Fraud is a hidden and under-reported crime with victims often in denial or unaware of the criminality behind it. Increasingly fraud is becoming more complex and sophisticated, much of which is targeted at vulnerable and elderly people.

Operation Signature is a standardised reporting and recording process, to identify and support vulnerable victims of fraud. The process provides preventative and support measures intended to protect victims and safeguard them from being targeted for further offences.

Did you know?

  • 1 in 5 people fall victim to fraud every year
  • Nearly 50% of all adults have been targeted by fraudsters

Technology is enabling fraudsters to carry out attacks quicker and employ more complex behaviours to remain undetected.

What kinds of fraud are there?

Common fraud types are:

  • Mail fraud: con artists use fake lotteries and prize draws, get-rich-quick schemes, bogus health cures and pyramid selling to get money from their victims
  • Investment fraud: the victim is offered investment opportunities in land, fine wines, share sales or carbon credits which have little or no value
  • Romance fraud: the fraudster meets someone on a dating site and gains their trust. They tell their victim they need money for a family emergency or flights over to see them
  • Courier fraud: fraudsters call and trick the victim into handing cards and PIN numbers to a courier on their doorstep
  • Fraud recovery: when fraudsters approach the victim again under a different guise, such as Trading Standards or Court officials, demanding money up front in order to finance court action to recoup some of the losses from the original crime.

Follow Op Signature on twitter @Op_Signature.

Report it

If you think you have been a victim of fraud, even if it was unsuccessful you should report it. If you do not report it, the fraudster will learn by the experience and may be successful next time.

Action Fraud
Action Fraud is the UK's national fraud and internet crime reporting centre. They can provide information about fraud and financially-motivated internet crime. If you have been scammed, ripped-off or conned, you can report it to Action Fraud.

Report fraud to Action Fraud

0300 123 2040

More help and support

Action Fraud
0300 123 2040

Little Book of Big Scams by Met Police

Get Safe Online

Age UK

Citizen's Advice

Take Five

Victim Support

Friends Against Scams

21 Feb 19 8:46 AM

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