How to report a scam

If you spot a scam, it’s not always clear who you should report it to, and it depends on whether it’s an email scam, telephone scam or another type of fraud.

Reporting email scams

If you’ve spotted a scam email or phishing email, the first step will be to report it to the internet service provider (ISP) that was used to send you the email.

If the scam email came from a Yahoo! account, send it to abuse@yahoo.com. Gmail has a 'Report spam' button and Hotmail has a 'Report phishing' button. 

Once you report the scam email, the ISP can then close the account that sent the email.

Report it to the company

If you're the victim of a mimicking scam online, where fraudsters pretend to be from a genuine company, it’s also worth contacting the company that has been mimicked.

Whether it’s a bank, government department or other company cited in the email, if you notify the company they can take steps to warn other people about the scam. 

Often companies will warn their customers of mimicking scams by putting notices on their websites, explaining the steps people can take to prevent others falling victim to the same scam. 

If you’re not sure whether an email you have received is a phishing email, take a look at our guide to spotting phishing emails. 

If you’ve been the victim of a phishing email scam and had money taken from your account, you may also want to report it to the bank.

You can use our free letter template to help get your money reimbursed.

Report internet fraud to Action Fraud

Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud and crime reporting centre. It provides a central point of contact about fraud and financially motivated internet crime. 

It offers an online reporting tool or you can call and speak to an adviser on 0300 123 2040.

You can also use its online form, which takes around 20 minutes to complete. 

After reporting a scam, you’ll get a national crime reference number and the case will be referred to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau for analysis by the City of London Police. 

Not every report results in an investigation, but each helps build a clearer national picture of fraud. 

Reporting premium rate phone scams

If you want to complain about or report a premium-rate telephone service scam, contact Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA). 

This is the official UK regulator for content, goods and services, charged to a phone bill.

You can call PSA free from a landline on 0300 303 0020 or visit the PSA website.

Report scam mail to Royal Mail

If you receive written correspondence you believe to be from fraudsters, you can forward it to Royal Mail with a covering letter to: Freepost Scam Mail, PO Box 797, Exeter EX1 9UN. 

You can also email scam.mail@royalmail.com or call 0345 611 3413. 

Stop scam mail

The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) allows you to have your name and address removed from mailing lists. 

To register for the free service, call 0845 703 4599 or visit mpsonline.org.uk.

Report a scam to local police

You should also consider contacting your local police station to report scams. This may provide them with useful information in catching the fraudsters.

Speak to Citizens Advice

If you report a scam to your local Citizens Advice, they may be able to offer you advice. 

You may also be giving them vital information which they can pass on to Trading Standards to help stop other people from becoming victims of the same scam.

Scams are criminal offences under the Fraud Act. This means that trading standards officers can take criminal action against the scammers.

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