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A complete list of 109 fraud and scam types

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Just as you work hard to preserve your money and assets so too are there people working feverishly to steal your money from you in ever increasing, creative ways.

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  1. 419 emails and letters: 419 fraud is advance-fee scam where you are asked to help transfer money out of another country – such as Iraq, Nigeria, South Africa or somewhere in west Africa – in return for a percentage of the money you helped to transfer.


  1. Abuse of position of trust: This is when someone abuses their position of authority or trust against another person for personal or financial gain, or to cause loss to another.
  2. Accommodation addresses: When fraudsters use an address to make it seem like a legitimate business is being run.
  3. Accommodation fraud: When fraudsters use an address to make it seem like a legitimate business is being run.
  4. Account takeover: When a fraudster or computer criminal poses as a genuine customer, gains control of an account and then makes unauthorised transactions.
  5. Advance fee fraud: When fraudsters target victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services and/or financial gains that do not materialise.
  6. Anti-competitive behaviour: When businesses agree to prevent, restrict or distort their competition to affect trade. Done by: Fixing prices on goods and services; Limiting or preventing production or supply; Dividing markets or customers or Rigging bids.
  7. Application fraud: When fraudsters open an account using fake or stolen documents in someone else’s name.
  8. Asset misappropriation fraud: When people who are entrusted to manage the assets of an organisation steal from it.
  9. ATM fraud: The most common types of incident at an ATM are card entrapment and card skimming. To trap a card, fraudsters insert a device into the machine to prevent a card from being ejected. The fraudster then removes the card once you have left the ATM.
  10. Auction fraud: Fraudulent shopping scams where fraudsters and computer criminals rely on the anonymity of the internet. As the popularity of internet shopping and online auctions grows, the number of complaints about transactions is increasing. Some of the most common forms are: Buyers receiving goods late, or not at all; Sellers not receiving payment; Buyers receiving goods that are either less valuable than those advertised or significantly different from the original description; Failure to disclose relevant information about a product or the terms of sale.


  1. Bank account fraud:If transactions you haven’t made show up on your bank statement.
  2. Bank card and cheque fraud: When criminals steal your cards or chequebook and gain access to funds in your account.
  3. Bankruptcy-related fraud: When companies fraudulently continuing trading immediately before being declared insolvent, or phoenix companies. Phoenix companies are when, following the insolvency of one company, a new company is set up overnight with the same directors, but is not liable to pay for the losses of the previous business because they seem to be different entities.
  4. Benefit fraud: When someone lies to obtain a state benefit they are not entitled to.
  5. Betting fraud: When you are made offers of inside information or ‘foolproof’ systems that guarantee you profit from gambling.
  6. Boiler room fraud: Share sale, boiler room, hedge fund or bond fraud involves bogus stockbrokers, usually based overseas, cold calling people to pressure them into buying shares that promise high returns. In reality, the shares are either worthless or non-existent.
  7. Botnet-related fraud: A botnet is a collection of robots and can be used maliciously to gain financial or other personal information. Botnets send the majority of spam.
  8. Business directory fraud: When a business receives a form in the post, by email or fax, appearing to offer a free listing in a business directory. The business is asked to return the order form even if they don’t want to place an order, but the small print states that by returning the form, you are committing to an order and will pay for ongoing entries in the directory.
  9. Business opportunity fraud: An offer to become financially independent, or to generate extra income, by setting up your own business.
  10. Business trading frauds: Can include long and short firm fraud as well as bankruptcy and insolvency related frauds. Long and short firm fraud is when a seemingly genuine business is set up, but has the intention of defrauding its customers and suppliers. Long firm fraud us when the business has developed a good reputation and credit history, while short firm fraud happens when the bogus business has been in operation for a few months. Short firm fraud is often internet related.


  1. Call centre fraud: Can involve fraudulent call centres being set-up, or genuine call centres being infiltrated, to obtain customers’ personal details to use in fraud.
  2. Career opportunity scams: When people respond to job adverts posted by bogus companies.
  3. Charity donation fraud: When fake charities play on your sympathy by asking you to make a donation to a worthy cause.
  4. Cheque fraud: Illegal use of cheques to acquire or borrow funds.
  5. Cheque overpayment fraud: When a fraudster pays a business for goods or services by a fraudulent cheque. The cheque is made for a higher amount than the actual value.
  6. Clairvoyant scams: When a fraudster approaches you to tell you they have seen something either wonderful or terrible in your future. They ask for money in order to provide a full report about it.
  7. Click fraud: When a pay-per-click online advert is deliberately clicked on in order to inflate a company’s advertising bill.
  8. Companies – fraudulent: Setting up a shell company or hijacking a legitimate company can support fraudulent activity.
  9. Computer hacking: Computer hackers are able to gain sensitive and personal information from the computer or computer network, which can be used to commit fraud.
  10. Computer Software Service frauds: Fraudsters often use the names of well-known companies to commit their crime, as it makes their communication with you seem more legitimate. This is why it’s important to think twice before giving out any personal information. Common scams that use the brand names include: receiving a phone call from ‘Microsoft Tech Support’ to fix your computer; receiving unsolicited emails with attached security updates; being asked for your credit card information to ‘validate your copy of Windows’; being told you have won the ‘Microsoft Lottery’.
  11. Corporate fraud: Any fraud committed against a business.
  12. Corporate services fraud: Any fraud committed against companies by employees or service providers. Corporate services frauds include: false accounting; payment fraud; procurement fraud; travel and subsistence fraud; personnel management fraud; exploiting assets and information; receipt fraud.
  13. Counterfeit cheque fraud: A forged cheque is a genuine cheque that has been stolen from an innocent customer and used by a fraudster with a forged signature. A fraudulently altered cheque is a genuine cheque that has been made out by the genuine customer, but a fraudster has altered the cheque in some way before it is paid in, eg by altering the beneficiary’s name or the amount of the cheque.
  14. Counterfeit gift certificates: Businesses provide the consumer with goods to the value of the gift certificate, only discovering later that the gift certificate was counterfeit and the genuine provider will not reimburse them.
  15. Counterfeit goods fraud: Goods passed off as originals which are actually fake.
  16. Courier scam: When fraudsters call and trick you into handing your cards and PIN numbers to a courier on your doorstep.
  17. Credit card fraud: The compromise of any personal information from credit, debit or store cards.


  1. Dating fraud: When you think you’ve met your perfect partner online, but they aren’t who they say they are. Once they’ve gained your trust, they ask for money for a variety of emotive reasons.
  2. Debit card fraud: The compromise of any personal information from credit, debit or store cards.
  3. Debt elimination: Many people find themselves deeply in debt, making it easy for criminals to offer them an opportunity to climb out from under a mountain of bills. Fake companies produce ads and other solicitations promising to help eliminate every type of debt, from credit card bills to taxes, for a partial payment up front. The victim fronts the payment as well as their credit card information, getting nothing in return, and often having their information sold to other fraudsters.
  4. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): An attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with a large volume of traffic from multiple sources.
  5. Domain name scams: Involve fraudsters offering businesses first refusal on a domain name, saying that someone else is just about to buy it.
  6. Doorstep fraud: Door-to-door frauds can take many forms, including: pressure selling; unfair contracts; overpriced or substandard home maintenance or improvements; phoney consumer surveys; ?bogus charity collections.


  1. Electricity scam: When you are offered incredible savings on your electricity consumption with the installation of a ‘wonder device’.
  2. Employee fraud: When fraud is committed against the company or organisation a person is working for. Internal frauds can include: ; payment fraud; procurement fraud; travel and subsistence fraud; personnel management; exploiting assets and information; receipt fraud.
  3. Employment fraud: When a fraudster claims to be a recruitment agent, hiring you for a job – which can be in a foreign country – that doesn’t exist.
  4. Exploiting assets and information: When assets of an organisation are used for unofficial purposes.


  1. Facility takeover: When a fraudster poses as a genuine customer, gains control of an account and then makes unauthorised transactions.
  2. False accounting fraud: When company assets are overstated or liabilities are understated in order to make a business appear financially stronger than it really is.
  3. Fixed line fraud: When fraud is committed against telephone companies.
  4. Fraud recovery fraud: When former fraud victims are told the money they’ve lost can be recovered.
  5. Fronting: A form of car insurance fraud, when someone claims to be the main driver on a car insurance policy when they are not.


  1. Gambling fraud: The fixing of results or odds to deceive bookmakers.
  2. Goods sold as investment: Involve investments that seem to offer a return that is more attractive than a conventional investment.
  3. Government agency scams: When fraudsters send out official looking letters or emails to ask for money or personal information. The correspondence gives the impression that they are from a government department and imply they have some form of authority.


  1. Health scams: You receive an email or see an advert promising miracle tablets and other medical cures that offer unbelievable results.
  2. Hedge fund fraud: Bogus stockbrokers, usually based overseas, cold calling people to pressure them into buying shares that promise high returns. In reality, the shares are either worthless or non-existent.
  3. Holiday club fraud: When you are told you’ve won a ‘free’ holiday or are pressured into signing a contract for a holiday club. Both can be scams for a bogus holiday club.
  4. Holiday fraud: When you hand over your money to a travel agent, website, or an individual, only to discover that the holiday, or sometimes just parts of it, don’t actually exist.


  1. Identity fraud and identity theft: When your personal details are stolen and when those details are used to commit fraud.
  2. Impersonation of officials: Fraudsters impersonate officials to make false promises about tax rebates, or to demand fees, “customs payments” or “VAT payments”.
  3. Inheritance fraud: When you are told that someone very rich has died and you’re in line to receive a huge inheritance.
  4. Insider information: When someone from inside a company deals or tries to deal using inside information.
  5. Institutional investment fraud: When institutions and corporations are targeted to make investments through offers that turn out to be too good to be true. This can include: Share sale fraud; Pension fund fraud; Pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes.
  6. Insurance broker scams: When a person takes out insurance cover from someone claiming to be an insurance broker.
  7. Insurance fraud: When false claims are made to insurance companies.
  8. Intellectual property fraud: When fake goods are passed off as originals. It can include counterfeit products or piracy on products from many industries, including health, music, film and fashion.
  9. Internet dialler scam: When the computer settings are changed on a person’s computer so their internet connection is re-routed via an expensive telephone line. It can happen when a person opens a spam email, clicks on a pop-up box or visits a pay-per-view website, and downloads the software that makes this change to their computer.
  10. Investment fraud: Share sales, wine investments, land banking and carbon credits commonly used by fraudsters to target potential investors. Anyone can become a victim of investment fraud.
  11. Invoice scams: When fraudsters send an invoice or bill to a company, requesting payment for goods or services. The invoice might say that the due date for the payment has passed, or threaten that non-payment will affect credit rating. In fact, the invoice is fake and is for goods and services that haven’t been ordered or received.


  1. Land banking scams: When small plots of agricultural land are advertised on the internet or over the phone as investment opportunities.
  2. Loan repayment fraud: The fraudsters often use a company name that is similar to an existing loan company. They send out letters claiming the recipient has missed a repayment deadline and now owe their original debt plus a ‘penalty charge’ of more money. The victim pays the ‘debt’ to the fraudsters, to find out later that they still owe the full amount to their outstanding loan company.
  3. Loan scams: When a victim is asked to pay an upfront fee for a loan. A person will typically reply to an advert for a fast loan and will have their application approved regardless of their credit history. Before they receive the loan, they are told them must pay an upfront fee to cover insurance for the loan. Once this fee is paid, the victim does not hear from the company again and the loan is never received.
  4. Lottery scams: Fraudsters contact you to tell you you’ve won a large sum of money in an international lottery, sweepstake or other prize draw. So that you can process the payment of your winnings, fraudsters ask you to contact someone who claims to be an official at the lottery company. You are warned to keep your good luck a secret and, if you don’t respond quickly, you won’t be able to claim your winnings. If you respond to the fraudster, you’ll be asked to supply personal information and copies of official documents, such as your passport, as proof of identity. The fraudsters can then use this information to steal your identity. Once you have provided your personal information, the fraudsters will ask you to pay various fees – for example: taxes, legal fees, banking fees etc. – so that they can release your non-existent winnings.


  1. Malware: Malicious software that consists of programming, for example code or scripts, designed to disrupt the performance of PCs, laptops, handheld devices, etc. Malware can also collect information or data from infected devices and pass them on to another device. Malware is often referred to as viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, dishonest adware, scareware, and crimeware.
  2. Mandate Fraud: When someone gets you to change a direct debit, standing order or bank transfer mandate, by purporting to be an organisation you make regular payments to, for example a subscription or membership organisation or your business supplier.
  3. Market manipulation: This could include making false or misleading statements and completing transactions that have the purpose of giving a false impression about supply or demand. For example, market manipulation includes buying a large number of shares near the end of the day with the intention of driving the stock price to an artificial level.
  4. Mass marketing fraud: When you receive an uninvited contact by email, letter, phone or adverts, making false promises to con you out of money.
  5. Mobile phone fraud: A variety of scams that either persuade you to buy phone-related products/services that turn out to be substandard or non-existent; or to make phone calls or texts to premium services by accident; or to unknowingly sign up to expensive subscription services.
  6. Money laundering: When the proceeds of crime from fraud, or money needed to fund fraudulent activity, is moved. Money could be moved by virtual payment systems, which can obscure the payment trail for online criminal activities or when fraudsters buy stolen credit card or bank account details. Fraudsters might also use electronic money exchangers and international transfer agents to move funds between different systems.
  7. Money muling: A money mule is a person who transfers stolen money between different countries. Money mules are recruited, sometimes unwittingly, by criminals to transfer illegally obtained money between different bank accounts. Money mules receive the stolen funds into their account, they are then asked to withdraw it and wire the money to a different account, often one overseas, keeping some of the money for themselves.
  8. Mortgage fraud: This fraud can include: over-valuing properties; overstating a salary or income; hijacking genuine conveyancing processes; taking out mortgages in the name of unsuspecting individuals or those who are deceased after identity theft; taking out a number of mortgages with different lenders on one address by manipulating Land Registry data; changing title deeds without an owner’s knowledge to allow the sale of a property.


  1. Non-domestic rate fraud: When a business avoids paying the correct fees for local services. A business might avoid paying the costs by not declaring that a business is located at a certain address.


  1. Office supply scams: When telemarketers trick employees into ordering or paying for stationery.


  1. Patient charge evasion: When a patient avoids paying for charges they owe. Patient charge evasion includes charges for prescriptions, or optical and dental charges. A patient might avoid these charges by falsely claiming exemptions or using aliases.
  2. Payment fraud: Any fraud that involves falsely creating or diverting payments.
  3. Personnel management fraud: Examples of personnel management fraud include: staff on sick leave but working elsewhere; abuses of flexible working time systems; misuse of official time, eg abusing a company’s computer misuse policy; deceit or misrepresentation for the employee’s advantage, eg false references or false qualifications used to secure employment.
  4. Phishing: A method used by fraudsters to access valuable personal details, such as usernames and passwords.
    PIN entry devices: When fraudsters modify genuine PIN entry devices to record card details.
  5. Ponzi schemes: These are ‘get rich quick’ investment scams which pay returns to investors from their own money, or from money paid in by subsequent investors. There is no actual investment scheme as the fraudsters siphon off the money for themselves.
  6. Prime bank guarantee fraud: A bogus investment scheme promising quick riches in a short space of time by buying bank guarantees from ‘prime’ banks.
  7. Property fraud: Involves fraudsters offering you a ‘get rich quick’ investment scam, claiming it can turn you into a property millionaire.
  8. Property investor scams: Fraudsters often persuade victims to hand over money after they have attended a free presentation on how to make money from property.
  9. Proxy servers: These are used by fraudsters to re-route communications to make them appear to be from other locations or countries.
  10. Public funding and grants: When individuals, organisations (eg businesses or charities) or organised criminal groups claim public funding or grants that they are not eligible for.
  11. Publication fraud: When cold callers contact businesses and sell advertising space in a bogus publication for a seemingly good cause. The caller will give the impression that the publisher is partnered with local charities, emergency services, crime prevention or community health initiatives. Sometimes the caller will say that a business has placed an order previously, or even that someone else in the business has agreed to take out the advertising space.
  12. Pyramid scheme fraud: Involves an unsustainable business which rewards people for enrolling others into a business that offers a non-existent or worthless product. A fraudster advertises a multi-level investment scheme that offers extraordinary profits for little or no risk. You’re required to pay a fee to enter the investment scheme.
  13. Pilling: A Method of Purchasing Ebay Items at a much lower price by scamming the buyer.


  1. Racing tipster scams: When a victim is offered racing advice and guaranteed tips for a small fee. The fraudsters promise that the victims will make a small fortune.
  2. Receipt fraud: Fraud committed by a company’s employees. It could happen when incoming cash or cheques are stolen, or when the records of the amounts owed by customers are adjusted in return for cash rewards or other incentives.
  3. Recovery fraud: Recovery fraud is where a victim of crime is approached by someone saying they’re a lawyer, a law enforcement officer or a government official who say they can recover some lost money eg court fees. If you respond to them they’ll ask you to make various payments to them, such as release and administration fees. If you pay they’ll keep coming back asking for more. If you ask them to take the fees from money they’re going to recover for you, they’ll give reasons why they can’t. For example, your money is under the control of a court and can only be paid back to you personally.
  4. Recruitment scams: When a fraudster claims to be a recruitment agent, hiring you for a job – which can be in a foreign country – that doesn’t exist.
  5. Rental fraud: When would-be tenants are tricked into paying an upfront fee to rent a property. In reality, the property does not exist, has already been rented out, or has been rented to multiple victims at the same time. The victim loses the upfront fee they have paid and is not able to rent the property they thought they had secured with the payment. Rental fraudsters often target students looking for university accommodation.


  1. Short and long firm fraud: When criminals set up what’s an apparently legitimate business, but with the intention of defrauding both its suppliers and customers. Long firm fraud happens after the business has developed a good reputation and credit history. Short firm fraud, often internet-related, happens when the business has only been in operation for a few months.
  2. Smishing: When fraudsters obtain personal details of a victim by SMS text messages.


  1. Tabnapping: A type of phishing scam that fraudsters use to get people’s personal information. Tabnapping targets people who keep multiple tabs open in their browser, often for long periods of time. The fraudsters then use JavaScript to change the contents and label of an open, but not active, tab to resemble the log-in screen of a bank, email provider or online shopping store. When a user clicks back onto the tab to find the fake log-in screen, they assume that they have been logged out and re-enter their user information and password to log back in. When they enter these details, the personal information provided is sent straight to the fraudsters.
  2. Tax fraud: Tax fraud includes tax evasion, where an individual or company avoids their tax liability by deliberately failing to declare their income, or by falsifying expenses. It also includes smuggling goods that are liable to excise duty, customs duty or VAT. Tax theft can happen when a person claims amounts that are not due.
  3. Ticket scams: When you buy tickets from a website, but the tickets do not arrive or turn out to be fake.
  4. Timeshare fraud: An investment scam that claims you can easily become a property millionaire from buying a timeshare.
  5. Travel and subsistence fraud: When employees of a company claim for travel or subsistence expenses that are not owed.


  1. Vehicle matching scams: When a fraudster cold calls someone who has just placed an advert to sell their car. The fraudster claims to have an immediate buyer for the car. They ask for an upfront fee which they say is refundable if the car isn’t sold. The car isn’t sold and the refund is never paid.
  2. Vishing: When fraudsters obtain personal details of a victim by phone.


  1. Website misdirection: This occurs when hackers mimic reputable companies such as Amazon, eBay, or PayPal, redirecting consumers to another website where they enter their credit card information. The criminal then use this information to make personal purchases.
  2. Work from home scams: An offer to become financially independent, or to generate extra income, by setting up your own business. A letter, advert or website asks if you are interested in making easy money by working from home, or setting up your own online business. The scheme allows you to choose when you work and enables you to fit your work around your other responsibilities. The work itself could involve filling envelopes, assembling products or selling goods or services through your own website.