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What are fraud, bribery and corruption?

Find out the difference between fraud, bribery and corruption, so you can report them to the right place.


Fraud is when someone tricks or scams you out of money or something else valuable.

Personal fraud might be someone pretending to be your bank to trick you into transferring money into their account.

Business fraud could be someone lying in company accounts to steal from people who have loaned them money.

Fraud often happens online, like ticketing scams or using a fake dating profile to con money from you.


Bribery is giving or offering a person something to persuade them to act dishonestly or break the law for you. It is illegal to offer, give or accept a bribe.

For example, a company paying an official to award them government contracts would be bribery.

A bribe doesn't have to be money. It could be something else, like offering a promotion at work in return for a favour. Or it could be a high-value gift, like tickets to a sporting event.

Businesses have a legal duty to prevent bribery within the company.


Corruption is when someone abuses a position of power to get money or something else valuable.

For example, a group of companies secretly agreeing to set artificially high prices would be a form of corruption called price fixing. Or an employee selling company secrets to a competitor is corruption.

Match-fixing in sport is another form of corruption where a coach or player influences the outcome of a match for financial reward.

Disagreements between people about wills, visitation rights, property boundaries, landlords and tenants are not fraud, bribery or corruption.

Also, disputes over missold or faulty items or bad service are not fraud, bribery or corruption.

Find out how to get help with civil disputes.

Reporting fraud, bribery or corruption

You might have only seen or heard something that makes you suspicious of fraud, bribery or corruption. But we still want to hear about it so we can decide whether to take action.

Fraud, bribery and corruption can overlap. For example, someone could be bribed to commit fraud. Don’t worry if it is hard to tell exactly which offence has been committed. Just do your best to answer our questions, and we'll tell you what to do next.

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