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Scams are fraud and fraud is crime - report it.

Operation Signature is the force campaign to identify and support vulnerable victims of fraud within Sussex.

Increasingly fraud is becoming more complex and deceptive, much of which is targeted at vulnerable and elderly people.

Did you know?

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

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.

There are many more types of fraud. Please see the Action Fraud website for more details.

Key things to remember:

  • Never send or give money to anyone you don't know or trust
  • Check people are who they say they are
  • Don't share your personal information
  • Make decisions in your own time
  • If in doubt phone a relative or a friend

Trust no-one who cold calls you about your bank account or a problem with your computer.

Under no circumstances would the bank or police request a card PIN or security details over the telephone or arrange collection of bank cards from a home address.

What do I do if I think someone I know has been a victim of fraud?

If you, or someone you know might be vulnerable to fraud, please contact Sussex Police on 101 or email


Scam - the secret crime DVD

Sussex Police is working closely with the Home Office in the protection of vulnerable fraud victims. As part of this, the force created a new awareness film. You can watch it below.

The video is currently being delivered to a variety of audiences such as banks, agencies and community groups with the purpose of raising awareness about the issue and encouraging them to work with the force to help prevent the vulnerable from becoming victims.

It can also provide a useful insight into these crimes for victims and family members.

What is being done about these crimes?

The Operation Signature work focuses on the protection of the vulnerable members of our communities in Sussex, preventing them from becoming victims of such fraud and subject to further financial loss.

We have a process for recognising victims of all fraud as victims of crime and providing preventative measures to support and protect them from further targeting. This can include helping them to change their phone number to an ex-directory number, contacting family to suggest Power of Attorney, mail re-direction, offering them advice on call blocking devices and referring them to other support services.

We also aim to raise awareness of the issue within our communities through our Neighbourhood Policing Teams and the media, encouraging people to take preventative steps.

Spot the warning signs of fraud and scams

We have created a new DVD for professionals, friends and relatives who visit the homes of the elderly and vulnerable to help them spot the warning signs that someone may be a victim of these crimes. Please click below to watch the video and share it with those who may find it useful.

Useful resources

The Little Book of Big Scams is a very useful booklet that explains the ways in which you can help protect yourself from fraud and covers a number of different types of fraud.

You can also visit the Action Fraud website.

The Sussex Elders' Commission on Police and Crime and Action on Elder Abuse can also help.

trueCall is a product which can help block nuisance calls. If installing one of these devices, please sign the consent form to share details of callers (available as a document attached to this page), to help us track down the fraudsters.

Get Safe Online holds lots of useful advice and information about protecting yourself online.

For further advice and information from Sussex Police please email

If you are reporting a crime please email

Email for more information

Do not use this address to report a crime.

Please use online reporting or call 101.

Got a question?

Downloadable documents

Who else can help?