Report online or call us on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about policing or the law? You may be able to find the answer here.

Through our frequently asked questions section we aim to help you find the answers you need without having to call us to ask for information. We've provided answers to questions on a range of topics which are regularly asked of police forces up and down the country.

Download the Ask The Police app from the following app stores:

Get it on iTunes Get it on Google Play

This is almost certainly a scam and you should delete/ignore it without evidence to the contrary. There are different versions of scams and you must remember- if something seems too good to be true, it usually is! Below are some examples of the methods scammers may use:

  • 'Phishing' is the term used for a scam that attempts to get access to your bank details, and if successful the account will probably be emptied. In the case of a dating agency it is preying on people who are lonely and want friendship. For any similar scenario, if you are asked for and give money (and it is a scam), you can be pretty certain you will never see your money again.
  • You are a long lost relative of a recently deceased person, you have been chosen to inherit a large amount of money from a person who does not have any living relatives.
  • Lottery scams may ask you to pay out in order to receive your winnings. No real lottery company would ask you to pay a fee before being able to claim your prize nor are large amounts of money handed out randomly! If you receive an email you need to check the authenticity; if it is not genuine, do not respond.
  • You may receive a letter purporting to be from the police confirming the authenticity of a letter regarding a lottery win. The police do not authenticate commercial organisations!

To protect yourself from scammers, below are some tips you need to be aware of:

    • If you were a long lost relative it is unlikely that the executors would make contact with you via email.
    • Is the phone number a mobile? A mobile call using a UK number can be made from anywhere in the world.
    • Solicitors and executors of wills do not just hand over large sums of money without very thorough checks.
    • Payment for the execution of a will comes out of the dead person's estate not from the people likely to receive a bequest.

It is better to thoroughly check out the situation rather than pay out a large sum of money on the basis of an email/phone call (to or from a mobile) etc., or perhaps long friendly conversations with a supposed romantic friend (that you never get to meet). Remember:

  • NEVER give out your personal details, bank account details or send any money to anyone who sends you such an email (called or written a letter) unless you have checked and are certain it is genuine. Many people have been defrauded out of a lot of money.
  • No matter how official it sounds check it out using a totally independent source or just leave well alone.
  • These people prey on the likelihood that you will be greedy (or think you have found friendship perhaps) and aren't going to look at the request in a common sense way.
  • They may lie about being based in the UK as this may make the scams seem more respectable. UK mobiles will start with 07, +44 7 or 0044 7. Normal landlines start 01 or 02.
  • The addresses used are fake or reputable names of companies but with the wrong number.

The police have designed a website, 'Action Fraud', that offers support specifically in relation to fraud and financially motivated crime. For a link to their website and for further details on protecting yourself from scams, please see related information.

Current rating

1 2 3 4 5

Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.