This FAQ provides answers to common questions about Fraud Advisory Panel and fraud in general.
- Do I have to report fraud to the police?
- Do I have to choose between the criminal and civil justice systems?
- Can I use more than one option to recover my money?
- How can the Fraud Advisory Panel help me?
Do I have to report fraud to the police?
No. In the UK there is no legal obligation to report fraud or cybercrime to the police or to any other body, unless you and/or your business are part of a regulated sector that has a duty to do so (such as accountants, solicitors and financial services firms).
Government encourages the voluntary reporting of fraud and cybercrime to law enforcement agencies – particularly Action Fraud – to help build a better national intelligence picture and to create advice to stop others from falling victim.
Even if you haven’t actually lost any money to a fraudster you can still make an information report to Action Fraud to tell them about an unsuccessful attempt to scam or defraud you (such as a bogus lottery win). It may help to protect others from being defrauded.
Do I have to choose between the criminal and civil justice systems?
No. The two systems can work together. There is nothing to prohibit a civil claim following a criminal claim, or vice versa – or even both happening simultaneously (called ‘parallel proceedings’). Read our factsheet on parallel sanctions for more information.
Simultaneous proceedings are allowed unless the defendant would face a real risk of serious prejudice which may lead to injustice in either the civil proceeding, the criminal proceedings or both. For instance, serious prejudice would occur if there was significant adverse publicity generated by both cases occurring simultaneously.
Can I use more than one option to recover my money?
Sometimes it is possible to pursue two or more options to recover your fraud losses at the same time (called ‘parallel proceedings’).
Important differences exist between civil and criminal proceedings that have implications for fraud investigations, including evidential and interview requirements and the burdens of proof that must be met in court.
It is important to plan carefully at the outset to ensure that all options are available and do not conflict with one another. Otherwise you may increase the chances of closing off one or more options.
Read our factsheet on parallel sanctions for more information.
How can the Fraud Advisory Panel help me?
The Fraud Advisory Panel provides general advice only. We are unable to provide professional advice on individual cases or take reports of fraud, but may be able to signpost you to other organisations or websites that can.