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Victim services

Beacon Victim Care: Help and support for victims of fraud

Close-up of a hand "tapping" a credit card on a card sales machine in a retail store. The salesperson's hands can be seen on the other side of the counter.

Fraud is wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. It can include:

  • fraud by false representation,
  • fraud by failure to disclose information when there is a legal duty to do so, and
  • fraud by abuse of position.

In each case:

  • the defendant’s conduct must be dishonest,
  • the intention must be to make a gain; or cause a loss or the risk of a loss to another, but
  • no gain or loss needs actually to have been made.

The maximum sentence is 10 years’ imprisonment.

How do you report it?

In the majority of cases fraud should be reported to Action Fraud which is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime. The police will take reports of fraud cases if:

  • the victim is vulnerable or at risk,
  • there is a known local offender, or
  • the suspect could be caught with immediate response.

To report a crime call 101 or if you are in immediate danger call 999.

What’s available to me?

Beacon Victim Care is able to provide

  • Practical support, advice and information
  • One-to-one support with a case manager
  • Someone to talk to in confidence, whether the fraud has been reported or not
  • Signposting to, or contact with, other agencies that can provide specialist help

Action Fraud

All types of fraud can/must be reported to Action Fraud.

Action Fraud do not investigate the cases and cannot advise you on the progress of a case. Reports taken by Action Fraud are passed to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). NFIB are responsible for assessing all reports. When their analysts see opportunities for law enforcement or partner agencies to take action, the case will be passed to the appropriate organisation e.g. Police Force or Trading Standards. The receiving agency then decide on the next most appropriate action and take responsibility for any resultant investigation.

The NFIB aims to send victims an update in writing when their report has been assessed. Updates will only be given three months after the initial report.

Card or bank account fraud

If your card has been lost/stolen or you discover unauthorised payments on your account, you should report this immediately to your bank. If you do not do so, this could affect where you stand legally in terms of gaining any refunds.

In many instances your bank should refund you in full when you have been a victim of fraud unless you have been grossly negligent.

If you are unhappy with the bank’s response then you can escalate your case through the bank’s internal complaints process. You must allow them 8 weeks to address your complaint.

If your card provider is insisting that you’ve been negligent and won’t refund your money, you can take your claim to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). If your provider’s decision is final, then ask it to issue you with a final letter of deadlock so that you can refer your dispute to the FOS.

Financial Ombudsman Service

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) settles individual disputes between consumers and businesses that provide financial services. You can complete and submit a claim online.

The FOS will consider all the circumstances around the transaction. It then make a decision and the victim can choose whether to accept.

If accepted the decision is binding on the bank who will have to comply with the FOS’ decision. It is not binding on you, you are free to take your claim to the small claims court if you’re not satisfied with the outcome. In small claims court, you could be liable for court fees and some other expenses if your claim is unsuccessful.