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Spotting and stopping fraudsters

We’re backing a campaign to raise awareness of doorstep, online and telephone fraud and how to prevent it. 

Fraudsters use a range of tactics to try to con people out of money, or out of personal information that they can then use to attempt to gain access to their money.

The Home Office has conducted research into this type of crime and has then consulted residents across the Avon and Somerset area to find out about their awareness of fraud and their recommendations on the best advice to give others.

The results of their research is the advice below to help tackle fraudsters, such as bogus officials claiming to be phoning or emailing from your bank or someone calling at your door claiming to be from the electricity or water company.

The Spot It, Stop It campaign is being piloted by the Home Office in the Avon and Somerset force area and is particularly aimed at those aged over 60 as research indicates that they can be more vulnerable to fraudsters than other age groups.

It is supported by Action Fraud, Trading Standards, Victim Support, Crimestoppers and Neighbourhood Watch.

picture of someone using a phone and picture of someone using a computer

Kirstie Cogram, head of the Economic Crime Unit at Avon and Somerset Police, said: “We would like to thank the members of public who have contributed to this campaign and would encourage everyone to read the crime prevention advice below and to pass it on to their friends and family.”

Crime prevention advice

Fraudsters are known to use the same techniques, whether they approach you by email, post, phone or at your door. This means there are simple steps you can take to help prevent yourself becoming a victim.

fraud leaflet

Spot it

  • Make decisions in your own time
    • Obtain at least three written quotes and references before having any work done.
    • Genuine callers won’t mind coming back in a day or two so that you can make independent checks.
    • If a caller refuses to leave your doorstep contact the police.
  • Check people are who they say they are
    • Check a company is trustworthy by making independent checks, such as calling the National Consumer helpline or Action Fraud.
    • Check a caller is a genuine employee by calling the company on a number you’ve looked up independently. Don’t use the number they provide on their ID badge.
    • Telephone fraudsters can stay on the line after you hang up. Wait at least 10 minutes or use a different phone line to make any other calls.

Get Safe Online Week

For free expert advice on recognising online crime visit the Get Safe Online website

Download the leaflets

Victims' experiences

In December 2013, Edna* was contacted by someone pretending to be from her bank’s fraud department. They told her that they were investigating employee fraud and asked her to get samples of money from her bank for fingerprinting. Over several months, Edna withdrew over £120,000 – more than her life savings – for the fraudsters who then visited her home to collect the cash.

In October 2014, Harry* was called by someone supposedly from his telephone service provider claiming he was due a refund. The fraudster explained that they were having issues making the payment into Harry’s account and needed to confirm that they had the correct bank details. Harry was tricked into revealing his card number and card reader codes over the phone, which were then used to pay multiple bills from his account.

*The victims’ names have been changed to protect their anonymity.

About the campaign

You can download the Spot It, Stop It poster or request, via email, hard copies of the leaflet or poster.