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When a person dishonestly makes a false representation and in doing so intends to make a gain for themselves or a loss for another, then they are committing fraud.

What is fraud?

Fraud is a criminal activity committed by those acting in a deceitful way.

There are a number of offences within fraud which fall under three category types:

  1. False Representation – This is using dishonesty or false representation to make a gain for them or a loss for another.
  2. Failure to Disclose – Failing to disclose information when you have a requirement to do so in order to make a gain for them or a loss for another.
  3. Abuse of a Position of Trust – Acting against, or failing to act in the interest of another person they are expected to safeguard.

Visit the Action Fraud website for a list of different kinds of fraud.

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 this experience and may be successful next time.

How do I report fraud?

All fraud should be reported to Action Fraud, the UK's national reporting centre for fraud:

  • via the online reporting tool on the Action Fraud website
  • Or by calling 0300 123 2040 Monday to Friday 8am - 8pm. If you are calling from abroad please call +44 300 123 2040

Reporting fraud to the police

You can report fraud to us, if:

  • the crime is in progress
  • an offender is at the scene or nearby
  • an offender is known to you and resides in the Avon and Somerset Area
  • the fraud involves a vehicle, plant, boat, animal or trailer
  • the fraud involves Vulnerable Victim

You can report it:

Other types of fraud

Property fraud

If you have been a victim of a fraud which involves a property or mortgage, contact Land Registry at GOV.UK for advice about what to do next.

You will still need to contact Action Fraud if you wish to report an incident.

Business fraud

A business being a victim of fraud can have serious repercussions. There is a risk of serious financial loss which could ultimately cause the company to become bankrupt. For this reason, measures should be taken to limit the risk posed by these types of fraud.

Long firm fraud

This type of fraud occurs when a business is started up, seems legitimate, but aims to defraud over a period of time.

Confidence can be built between the firm and a supplier by placing smaller orders using falsified details, before going on to place large orders which they then fail to pay for after receiving the goods or services.

Short firm fraud

This type of fraud is similar to the above, however it takes place over a much shorter time scale.

These fraudulent businesses use credit to obtain easily disposable goods with a high turn over (for example, electrical goods, toys, computers, alcohol), have them delivered to a third party address and sell the goods on before disappearing without paying the credit due.

Being caught out by these crimes can be very damaging to your organisation and staff. To avoid becoming a victim, it is important that you perform rigorous checks on potential employees and any organisations with which you do business.

If you suspect there is fraudulent activity taking place, contact Action Fraud as soon as possible so that it can be investigated.

Related documents

  • PDF icon The Little Book of Big Scams
    Last updated: 11 June 2019