Scams are schemes to con you out of your money. Every year more than three million people in the UK fall victim to scams, losing hundreds and even thousands of pounds.
They can arrive by post, phone call, text message or email, or by a scammer turning up at your home.
If you have been targeted by a scam, or know someone who has then please report it through our anti-social behaviour form:
You can also phone the ASB Reporting Line on 020 7527 7272.
You can report a scam through Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.
If debit cards, online banking or cheques are involved in the scam, contact your bank or credit card company.
See related information links at the bottom of the page to get further advice on scams.
What a scam may be
- a call, letter, email or text which has come out of the blue
- a lottery or competition that you have you’ve never heard of and didn't buy a ticket
- someone asking you to send money in advance
- someone saying you have to respond quickly so you don’t get time to think about it or talk to family and friends before you decide on something
- someone needing something from you and telling you to keep it a secret
What a scammer may do
- contact you out of the blue
- make promises that sound too good to be true - if something sounds too good to be true it probably is
- ask you to pay for something up-front - for example, they'll ask you to pay a fee before you can claim a prize
- ask you to make a quick decision by saying things like ‘if you don’t act now you’ll miss out’. This puts you under pressure and doesn’t give you time to think
- be over-familiar and over-friendly with you
- tell you an offer has to be kept secret
- ask for your bank account details. Never give your bank details to people you don’t know, especially people you meet online
- give a mobile number or PO Box number as the contact for their company- these are easy to close and difficult to trace. It may be a sign that the company doesn’t exist or isn't legitimate. Check out the company's details with Companies House or look on the internet for more details about them.
If you think something might be a scam, don’t reply - then throw it away, delete it or hang up and get further advice.
Tips on avoiding scams
Register with the Mailing Preference Service to cut down on unwanted direct mail that is addressed to you; phone: 0845 703 4599.
Royal Mail also has an opt out scheme through which you can choose not to have materials put through the door.
Register with the Telephone Preference Service to cut down on unwanted phone calls, texts and SMS messages.
Forward spam texts to your mobile provider – 7726 for Everything Everywhere (O2 & Orange), 37726 for 3, 87726 for Vodafone.
Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.
Financial Fraud Action UK
Financial Fraud Action UK is responsible for leading the collective fight against financial fraud on behalf of the UK payments industry.
The Little Book of Scams
Read how the Metropolitan Police want you to protect yourself against scams.
Scams that target businesses
Find out how to protect your business against scams.