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Action Fraud is the UK's national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre. They provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and cyber crime.

Reporting Online Fraud

Reports of fraud and cyber crime are collated and analysed to establish networks of offences and identify those responsible. Local police forces then use this information to protect vulnerable victims and prosecute offenders.

If you wish to report online fraud you should go to the Action Fraud website or call them on 0300 123 2040.

Although fraud comes in many forms, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself from the crime.

1. Do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to organisations or people before verifying their credentials.

2. Many frauds start with a phishing email or phishing message on social media. Remember that banks and financial institutions will not send you emails asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details. Do not trust such emails, even if they look genuine. You can always call your bank using the phone number on the back of your card. To prevent receiving the phishing email, we suggest that you ensure your account settings are set to private.

3. Destroy and preferably shred receipts with your card details on and post with your name and address on. Identity fraudsters don't need much information in order to be able to clone your identity.

4. Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed. Ensure your browser is set to the highest level of security notification and monitoring to prevent malware issues and computer crimes.

Keyboard Fraud5. Sign-up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code whenever you are given the option while shopping online. This involves you registering a password with your card company and adds an additional layer of security to online transactions with signed-up retailers.

6. If you receive bills, invoices or receipts for things you haven't bought, or financial institutions you don't normally deal with contact you about outstanding debts, take action. Your identity may have been stolen.

7. You should regularly get a copy of your credit file and check it for entries you don't recognise. Callcredit, Equifax, Experian, ClearScore and Noddle can all provide your credit file. An identity protection service such as ProtectMyID monitors your Experian credit report and alerts you by email or SMS to potential fraudulent activity. If it's fraud, a dedicated caseworker will help you resolve everything.

8. Be extremely wary of post, phone calls or emails offering you business deals out of the blue. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always question it.

9. If you have been a victim of fraud, be aware of fraud recovery fraud. This is when fraudsters pretend to be a lawyer or a law enforcement officer and tell you they can help you recover the money you've already lost.

10. Public Wi-Fi is not safe for use for your sensitive data. You should never use public Wi-Fi for things such as: online banking, emailing or online purchases.

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The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has noticed a trend in fraudsters impersonating public sector bodies and placing orders with businesses that have an existing supply relationship.

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Forestry Investment Cold Call Alert

Fraudsters are cold calling victims and persuading them to transfer their pension from legitimate schemes into unregulated forestry investments schemes that promise of high returns.

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Bogus PPI and HMRC Phone Calls Alert

People are being warned of a scam that has the UK where fraudsters contact victims claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and trick them into paying bogus debts and taxes using iTunes gift cards.

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