Glossary of terms

Where a victim's account (bank, online shopping etc.) is taken-over by unauthorised persons, who are able to control the account, changing personal details and directing the movement of monies or services.

The targeting of victims to make upfront (‘advance’) payments for goods and/or services that never materialise.

Searching domestic or commercial dustbins, attempting to find personal financial papers or other information which could be used for account take-over or identity theft purposes.

The use of ‘cold calling’ techniques to potential investors (the ‘suckers list’) using high pressure methods to sell speculative or worthless shares. This type of fraud is also referred to as share sale fraud, hedge fund fraud, land banking fraud or bond fraud.

Similar to account take-over fraud i.e. the unauthorised change to address data. If successful, important papers/other documents e.g. credit cards etc. are effectively ‘redirected’ to an address controlled by criminal gangs.

Where cheques are given for the provision of goods or services in the knowledge that the cheque won’t clear/can’t be cashed.

Committed using a computer or mobile device to ‘hack’ into a service to deny or distort the legitimate use of that service.

Where personal information is stolen form a debit or credit card (including store cards) to access funds and/or goods/services without authorisation. The technique used to gather the card information is usually referred to as ‘skimming’.

A technique whereby criminal gangs, posing as police or law enforcement officers, targeting past known fraud victims offering to recover stolen monies etc. for a fee. The gang may also ask for bank account details to be disclosed to enable the recovered monies to be returned (in reality, victim’s bank account will be emptied very quickly).

Where personal details are stolen and used to commit fraud in the name of the [unsuspecting] victim.

Where, after contact, criminal gangs get you to change an existing standing order/direct debit arrangement to direct monies taken from your account to an account under their control.

Falsely creating or diverting payments through the creation of false records and bank accounts etc.

All terms which relate to online services, phone calls or text messages that pose as companies known to the intended victim. Typically, the technique involves directing individuals to bogus websites where personal details are handed over, money paid or software downloaded that will infect computers and/or other electronic devices.

Bogus investment schemes promising victims they will ‘get rich quick’.

Not dissimilar to phishing, vishing & smishing insofar as e-mails are sent to victims seeking to gain personal information for fraudulent use.

If you believe you have been the victim or target of attempted fraud in whatever form, you should contact Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber-crime on 0300 123 2040 or visit Action Fraud’s website at