Wider Online Fraud

Unfortunately in any international crisis there are always criminals ready to try and exploit vulnerable and scared individuals.

The majority of reports to Action Fraud are related to online shopping scams where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser, and other products, which have never arrived.

Other frauds being reported include ticket fraud, romance fraud, charity fraud and lender loan fraud.

If you are the victim of any cyber incident or fraud, Action Fraud is the place to report it to. See our guide to reporting:

Mandate Fraud

Mandate Fraud is one of the most significant financial threats to businesses and individuals from cyber criminals. Mandate fraud is 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 to a music or video streaming service. The criminal will spoof the sender or make it so convincingly accurate that you struggle to tell the fake from the genuine article.

Mandate fraud is fought with cynicism and by challenging any request to change bank account details. This should be done on a number that you trust which is not from the digital communication you are checking.

Find out more at Action Fraud’s A-Z of fraud:

Online Shopping Fraud

Shopping and auction fraud involves fraudulent shopping scams that rely on the anonymity of the internet.

As the popularity of internet shopping and online auctions grows, so the number of complaints about transactions is increasing. Some of the most common complaints involve:

  • 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.

Find out more at Action Fraud’s A-Z of fraud:

Take Five to Stop Fraud

Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment. Stop and think. It could protect you and your money.


Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.


Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.


Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

Take Five is a national campaign offering straight-forward, impartial advice that helps prevent email, phone-based and online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations. Find out more:

Examples of Covid-19 Fraud