What to do if you're a victim of scams or fraud | Age 51Թapp


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What to do if you're the victim of a scam

Being scammed can be very distressing, and the impact is often emotional as well as financial. If you've been scammed, you're not alone, and there's support available.

Who can I talk to if I've been scammed?

  • The police: If you feel threatened or if you're in immediate danger, call 999. If it's not an emergency, call 101.
  • Your bank: If you've noticed any unusual activity with your bank account, call the centralised number 159 or the phone number on the back of your bank card. If you lost money, your bank may be able to recover it in certain situations – but it's not always possible. Your bank may cancel your current card and send you a new one to stop any other fraudulent transactions from your account.
  • : Report any kind of fraud by giving them a call or reporting it online via their website.
  • : Provides 24/7 free and confidential support to victims and witnesses of crime in England and Wales.
  • : If a scam has made you feel anxious, fearful or guilty. They provide emotional and practical help to victims of crimes and scams.
  • : Contact Citizens Advice for information and advice about how to avoid scams and fraud. Their consumer services also provides information and advice on consumer issues by telephone and online.
  • : You can call their helpline on 116 123 if you feel low or anxious and need someone to talk to.
  • Social services: If you need care and support, you can contact your local council’s adult social services department. They can provide safeguarding support, and will work with you to consider what action to take.
You can also speak to your local Age 51Թapp if you’ve lost money or got into debt through a scam.


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What are the signs that someone's been scammed?

You may be worried that someone you know is being scammed. Look out for these warning signs:

  • Unusual amounts of post or letters in their home.
  • Evidence of large cash withdrawals or multiple cheque payments.
  • Lack of money to pay for other things.
  • Lots of phone calls from strangers or companies.
  • Being secretive about any of these behaviours.

Some people don’t realise they're being scammed, or refuse to believe it. They may feel that the scammers are their friends, or that their returns or prizes will come through if they continue to respond. This can make it very difficult to talk to them about getting help.

How can I help someone if they've been scammed?

Raise the subject with them sensitively – you could try asking them about the calls and mail they receive. See if they might be willing to register for the and the to help block some of the calls and mail.

  • Help them to report the fraud. You can report fraud to Action Fraud on behalf of someone, or encourage them to report it. It’s best that you get permission from the person before reporting the fraud on their behalf, but you can report the fraud without their permission.
  • Find support locally. The government has advised that internet scams, postal scams and doorstep crime are all forms of financial abuse and are often targeted at adults who need care and support.

If you're worried that an adult who needs care and support has been affected by a scam, you can tell the local council’s adult social services department. They'll make safeguarding enquiries and work to make sure that person is protected.

The lasting impact of a scam

Often when we talk about scams, we discuss them in financial terms and don't talk about the emotional impact they can have. But they can leave us feeling embarrassed, unsettled and unsafe, and have a lasting impact on our confidence. They can also leave us feeling unsure about who we can trust.

But if you've been scammed, it's important to reach out and talk about what's happened. It's nothing to feel embarrassed about – these scams are increasingly sophisticated and are purposefully designed to steal your money by posing as people or organisations you trust.

They can catch you on a day you're busy doing something else, or just having one of those days. We've all had them.

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We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local Age 51Թapps.

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Last updated: Apr 10 2024

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