Whether you’ve been defrauded by someone or you think you’ve discovered stolen goods, we recommend that you always contact your local police to report the incident and get a crime reference number. If the police take the matter further, the investigating police officer will contact us. We’ll do all we can to provide the police with any information that assists their investigation.
Before you go to the police
It may not be a case of fraud or stolen goods. It could be that you're just dealing with a seller who is slow to send an item or keep in contact. In either of these cases, please try contacting the seller directly one more time to resolve your problem.
Is it a crime?
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. Learn more about how to make a claim.
How do I make a police report?
The simplest way is to go to your local police station or call 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.
What evidence do I need?
The police may need these from you:
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 other person
If relevant, the ad reference number or a printed copy of the ad on Gumtree
Report Fraud to Action Fraud
If you have been a victim of Fraud, along with telling us and reporting it to your local police we recommend that you report the issue to Action Fraud.
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/
They provide 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 co-ordinate 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
You can report fraud using their online fraud reporting service; the service 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.