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Case Studies

Most have faced scams

More than three quarters of UK adults said they have been targeted by a scammer this year – a 14 per cent increase compared to this time last year, according to a survey for the charity Citizens Advice.

The most common types of scams reported included:

Deliveries, postal or courier services (55pc);
Someone pretending to be from the government or HMRC (41pc);
Someone offering a fake investment or financial ‘get rich quick’ schemes (29pc);
Rebates and refunds (28pc);
Banking (27pc);
Online shopping (24pc);
Health or medical (13pc);
Energy scams (12pc).

Ahead of many households receiving vital government help for the cost-of-living crisis, Citizens Advice and the Consumer Protection Partnership have launched their annual Scams Awareness campaign to help people protect themselves from opportunistic scammers.

Citizens Advice has seen a range of cost-of-living scam tactics used by scammers. These have included emails claiming to be from the regulator Ofgem asking people to enter their bank details to get the £400 energy rebate, or claiming the government is giving £200,000 out at random to people who are of pension age, disabled or on a low income.

Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “We know scammers prey on our worries and fears and the cost-of-living crisis is no exception. Anyone can be targeted by a scam, and as the purse strings are tightened and financial pressures pile on, it’s more important than ever we recognise the red flags. By reporting scams and sharing our own experiences, we can work together to protect ourselves and each other.”

Yonder Data solutions surveyed a representative sample of 2,088 adults living in the UK, in mid-May.

Comment

Jamie Akhtar, CEO and co-founder of CyberSmart, said: “These figures, while very alarming, demonstrate that the UK is in desperate need of greater cyber awareness across society. Although many of these scams have grown more sophisticated over time, they’re still avoidable if you know what to look for.

Most online scams prey on our more manipulatable instincts by creating a sense of urgency. So, what’s needed is more guidance to help victims take a step back, recognise the signs of scam, and avoid it all together. This doesn’t have to be intensive cybersecurity training. A simple grounding in the basics, for everyone, would go a long way towards reducing the threat.”

For consumer advice, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 to talk in Welsh. If scammed: offline scams, like telephone, post and doorstep, report to the Citizens Advice website or by calling 0808 223 1133. Report online scams to the dedicated Scams Action service, online or on 0808 250 5050.

Text scams can be reported to your mobile phone provider by forwarding it to 7726

Also report the scam to the police reporting centre (not Scotland), Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.


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