How to recognise and report emails, texts, websites, adverts or phone calls that you think are trying to scam you.
Cyber criminals use fake messages as bait to lure you into clicking on the links within their scam email or text message, or to give away sensitive information (such as bank details).
These messages may look like the real thing but are malicious. Once clicked, you may be sent to a dodgy website which could download viruses onto your computer, or steal your passwords.
If you think you may have been the victim of fraud or cybercrime and incurred a financial loss or have been hacked as a result of responding to a phishing message, you should report this to Action Fraud
Have you spotted a suspicious email?
If you have received an email which you’re not quite sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS): [email protected]
The message might be from a company you don’t normally receive communications from, or someone you do not know. You may just have a hunch. If you are suspicious, you should report it.
Your report of a phishing email will help us to act quickly, protecting many more people from being affected.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) will analyse the suspect email and any websites it links to. They'll use any additional information you’ve provided to look for and monitor suspicious activity.
If they discover activity that they believe is malicious, they may:
- seek to block the address the email came from, so it can no longer send emails
- work with hosting companies to remove links to malicious websites
- raise awareness of commonly reported suspicious emails and methods used (via partners)
Whilst the NCSC is unable to inform you of the outcome of its review, they can confirm that they do act upon every message received.
Have you received a suspicious text message?
Most phone providers are part of a scheme that allows customers to report suspicious text messages for free by forwarding it to 7726. If you forward a text to 7726, your provider can investigate the origin of the text and arrange to block or ban the sender, if it’s found to be malicious.
Have you received a suspicious phone call?
Phone scammers will call you unsolicited, pretending to be from an organisation you trust, such as your bank or the police.
These scam calls may be automated, or from a real person. They may ask you for your personal information like banking details, or tell you you need to transfer money.
If you've lost money or have been hacked as a result of responding to a call, you should report it:
- In England, Wales or Northern Ireland, report it to us online or by calling 0300 123 2040.
- In Scotland, report to Police Scotland by calling 101.
If you have not lost any money or responded to the call, you should report report scam call numbers free of charge to 7726. Your provider can find our where the call came from and block or ban the number.
To report a scam call, simply text 7726 with the word ‘Call’ followed by the scam
Report a website you think is a scam
Many scammers operate fake websites, which will download viruses to your computer, or are designed to steal passwords or other personal information.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has the power to investigate and remove scam websites. It's free to report a suspicious website to us and it only takes a minute. By reporting suspicious websites, you can help us stop cyber criminals and protect others online.
Report a scam advert
Many cyber criminals seek to trick their victims using scam adverts. You might see these adverts hosted on websites, or while using a search engine or social media.
These adverts will often look genuine. They might try to hook you in using false celebrity endorsements, or by offering goods at a discount. But the aim is often to steal money from you, or sell you goods that bear no resemblance to what was advertised.