Today we launch our annual Scams Awareness Fortnight. It is a national campaign that runs from 13 to 26 June 2022.
We want to:
- help people recognise scams
- empower people to report scams
- encourage people to talk about scams
With many people facing increased financial pressures, there is a high chance that scammers will take advantage of this. For example, we’ve already seen instances of scammers pretending to be energy companies offering “too good to be true” deals and others sending out phishing emails offering fake government rebates.
● Anyone can fall victim to a scam. People of all ages and backgrounds get scammed. It’s important to be on your guard – if you’re not sure about something, take your time and get advice.
● If you think someone might be trying to scam you, it’s important to act straight away. If you need advice and support you can call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk. You should also report scams or suspected scams to Action Fraud.
Estimates from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) suggest there were 5.1 million fraud offences in the year ending Sept 2021. This is a 36% increase compared to the year ending Sept 2019.
● Citizens Advice found in the first 5 months of 2021 more than two thirds of adults (36 million) had been targeted by a scam.
○ Within this, while over 55s were most likely to be targeted, those 34 and under were almost 5 times more likely to fall victim to a scam than their older counterparts.
● In the first half of 2021, criminals stole a total of £753.9 million through fraud, an increase of 30% compared to the year before.
○ In the first half of 2021, criminals focused their activity on authorised push
payment (APP) fraud, where the customer is tricked into authorising a
payment to an account controlled by a criminal. They use things like scam
calls, texts, emails, social media and fake websites to trick people into
handing over personal details, which is then used to target victims and
convince them to authorise payments.
○ There were significant increases in impersonation scams and purchase
scams, and investment scams were also highlighted as of concern.
○ What often unites these scams is the use of online platforms – UK Finance analysis found 70% of APP scams originated on an online platform.
● The CSEW suggests that only 1 in 6 (17%) of incidents of fraud either come to the attention of the police or are reported by the victim to Action Fraud.
What are scams?
Scams can affect anyone, at any age, and happen online or in person. Lots of us are facing higher bills and worrying about money, and scammers are trying to take advantage of this.
Examples of scams are someone:
• Pretending to be an energy company offering ‘too good to be true’ deals on gas or electricity costs, in person or online
• Doing work on your house or garden that you didn’t ask for or agree to, and then demanding payment
How can I spot scams?
• Someone you don’t know contacts you unexpectedly
• You’re being urged to respond quickly so you don’t get time to think about it
• You’ve been asked to pay for something urgently
• You’ve been asked to give away personal information
• Be suspicious. Scammers can appear like a trusted business or government official, have a professional website and say all the right things. Take your time to work out if this is a real organisation. Ask them for ID or contact the organisation on an official phone number
How can I protect myself?
• Don’t rush into making decisions. If someone pressures you, it’s probably a scam
• Never give money or personal details, like passwords or bank details, to anyone you don’t know, trust or have only met online
• Pay by debit or credit card. This gives you extra protection if things go wrong
• Before you buy anything, check the company or website you’re using. Read reviews from different websites, search for the company’s details on Companies House, and take a look at their terms and conditions
• If you’re not sure about something, get advice from a trusted source
To find advice on scams and further information on what you can do to be #scamaware, take a look at our scams awareness 2022 resources