Sometimes people who have bought or sold items online feel they have been the victim of fraudulent behaviour. They may suspect they have been sold stolen goods or they may have failed to receive payment for items sold in good faith. We urge buyers and sellers to check carefully before taking your concerns to the police. Could it be that you’re just dealing with someone who is proving slow to pay, or slow to send the goods you’ve bought? It’s best to try contacting the seller, or buyer, directly one more time to resolve your problem. However, if you are convinced there has been a breach of the law, you may want to contact the police.
What crime has been committed?
If you report your case to the police, they'll decide if it should be investigated as a crime or civil dispute. If the police feel that your case doesn't involve a criminal intent by the other party, it’s possible that they may advise you to take civil action to recover your losses. This is done through a county court, which deals with small claims. For this, you’ll need to know the name and address of the other party. A police officer will be able to help you with this process.
Make a police report
Start by visiting your local police station or calling the local police operator on a non-emergency number. In most cases, your report can be taken by telephone and followed up later. Some forces have an online crime reporting system, which you may be able to find online. This list of Police forces in England and Wales is a good starting point. It’s likely that the police will ask you for: Essential details such as the nature, date and time of the offence, and the name and contact details of the victim and suspect(s), any email exchanges between you and the other person. If relevant, you may need to provide the ad reference number or a printed copy of the ad.
Contact Action Fraud
If you have been a victim of fraud, please contact us about the incident. You should also report it to your local police and we recommend that you report the issue to Action Fraud. This organisation provides a central point of contact for information about fraud and financially motivated internet crime. The service is run by the National Fraud Authority – the government agency that helps to coordinate the fight against fraud in the UK. They also work with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, run by the City of London Police - to make sure fraud reports reach the right place
Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud reporting centre where you should report fraud if you have been scammed or defrauded. Their website is http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
You can report fraud using their online fraud reporting service which enables you to both report a fraud and find help and support. You can also talk to them by calling 0300 123 2040.
Reports taken are passed to the police who may contact you for further information. Action Fraud does not investigate the cases and cannot advise you on the progress of a case.
Police Forces http://www.police.uk/
Get Safe Online http://www.getsafeonline.org/
National Fraud Authority http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/agencies-public-bodies/nfa/
Action Fraud http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/