What is fraud?
Fraud can take many forms - fraudulant letters, emails, telephone calls and faxes are sent out in their thousands daily to individuals and companies worldwide.
These have become a common way for criminals to attempt to steal your money. During the 2014/15 policing year, frauds were reported by Sussex victims who come from all sections of the community. Fraud offences are very varied in their nature.
If you have been a victim of fraud or need advice, please contact Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud reporting centre, or, if vulnerable or elderly, contact us by calling 101.
The Action Fraud service is available 24 hours a day, and their website contains lots of useful information and advice about the various types of fraud and what you can do to prevent them happening to you.
There are many words used to describe fraud, and all of these are crimes: scam, con, swindle, extortion, sham, double-cross, hoax, cheat, ploy, ruse, hoodwink, confidence trick. These are just a few words you might hear in relation to fraud that can be committed against individuals or businesses.
Fraudsters are opportunistic and enterprising, creative and innovative. They are quick to identify new targets and vulnerabilities and to adopt new tools and techniques. Awareness is often the best defence against fraud, so learn more here about common frauds and how to protect against them.
Cyber crime is any criminal act dealing with computers and networks (called hacking). Additionally, cyber crime also includes traditional crimes conducted through the Internet.
Financial fraud: Why it matters
Hundreds of thousands of people become victims of fraud every year. The threat posed by deception scams, alongside the growth in sophisticated online attacks, is on the increase. The impact of fraud attacks on victims can be wide ranging, with psychological turmoil and emotional stress created in addition to any financial impact.
• It is estimated one in every ten people has fallen victim to financial fraud.
• There were 1.5 million incidents of financial fraud in the UK in 2015.
• Estimated losses to the UK economy from fraud, including financial fraud, exceed £50 billion per year.
The Financial Action Task Force found that some phone scams in the UK fund terrorism.
The Little Book of Big Scams explains the ways in which you can help protect yourself from fraud and other scams.
Operation Signature is our 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.
Sussex Police also produce a fraud newsletter giving you advice on how to protect yourself and also to give recent news regarding successful investigations. Download the latest edition.
Get Safe Online holds lots of useful information and advice about protecting yourself online.