Helping to protect our communities from cybercrime and fraud.


Fraud and cybercrime are forms of financial exploitation. They involve people being pressured or deceived into handing over money and possessions. People may be tricked into downloading computer viruses and malware, or they may be blackmailed, develop large debts to another person or company (including loan sharks) or have money and possessions stolen.

People can be exploited online, through emails, the telephone, the post, or in person. They may be exploited by companies and strangers such as online and telephone scammers or doorstep callers. These people may befriend the person and groom them into handing over money and possessions. Family members, friends and carers may also try to exploit someone. This commonly known as mate crime – find out more.

Anyone can be financially exploited, but older people are disproportionately affected. Scams are a particularly common form of exploitation, but forced debt is also a growing problem, and is linked to other forms exploitation such as modern slavery and drug trafficking.

Signs that someone is being financially exploited could include:

  • Changes in the amount of money the person has available, including unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts, evidence of unpaid bills or an inability to afford items
  • Developing high levels of debt
  • Control of finances moving from the person to another adult – this could be through a formal agreement or through someone taking control of someone’s spending choices
  • Changes to financial documents such as changes to a will, adding names to a bank account, or signatures that don’t look like the person’s.
  • Receiving lots of mail, emails or telephone calls
  • Appearing stressed, anxious, or deterioration in health and wellbeing
  • Having a new friend, who the person may have met in person, on the telephone or online

If you are concerned that you or someone you know is being exploited help is available.


Campaigns and resources
Take Five to Stop Fraud National campaign against financial fraud
find out more

Action Fraud Campaign and awareness materials
find out more

Cyber Choices National Crime Agency campaign
to prevent young from becoming involved in cybercrime
find out more

What we are doing to tackle fraud and cybercrime in Devon

We work with partners including child and adult safeguarding and Trading Standards to raise awareness of cybercrime and fraud in our communities and prevent people from becoming the victim of financial exploitation.


If you or someone you know is in immediate danger contact 999.

If you are concerned about someone’s safety or welfare contact:
The Devon Children and Families Partnership if you are concerned about someone aged under 18 –

The Devon Safeguarding Adults Partnership if you are concerned about someone aged 18 and over – 

Action Fraud

Helpline and website where you can report fraud and find information and support

0300 123 2040

Trading Standards

Support if you are a victim of fraud and advice for protecting yourself against fraud

Citizen’s Advice

Advice and information about fraud, debt and consumer rights.

03444 111 444

Crime Stoppers

Anonymous helpline for reporting information and suspicions.

0800 555 111

Devon and Cornwall Police

Non-emergency number – 101

Online crime reporting form

Buy With Confidence

Search for businesses that have been vetted and approved by Trading Standards to ensure that they operate in a legal, honest and fair way. 

Victim Care Network

Directory of local support for victims of crime and exploitation.

Devon Safeguarding Adults Partnership

Information and support about fraud and links to support.

Get Safe Online

Information about keeping safe online and protecting yourself from cybercrime and fraud.