More than two thirds of adults (36 million) have been targeted by a scammer since January 2021, new research by Citizens Advice has found.
While over 55s are most likely to be targeted, those 34 and under are almost five times more likely to fall victim to a scam than their older counterparts, the charity can reveal.
Younger people were most likely to be targeted by text or messaging service (61%), while those over 55 were most likely to be targeted over the phone (73%).
Of all those targeted by a scammer:
- 54% were about fake deliveries or parcels
- 41% were by someone pretending to be from the government
- 12% were by someone offering a fake investment or get rich quick scheme
To encourage people to report scams, share their experiences and look out for others, Citizens Advice and the Consumer Protection Partnership have launched their annual Scams Awareness campaign.
Karen Whitlam, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Bassetlaw, said: “From fraudulent get rich quick schemes to dodgy texts, opportunistic scammers continue to prey on even the savviest of consumers. Our research shows that when it comes to scams anyone can be targeted, and anyone can be tricked.
“It’s more important than ever we all do our bit to report scams when we see them to help protect ourselves and others. By learning how scammers operate, and helping each other understand what to look out for, we can all work together to stop fraudsters in their tracks.”
Citizens Advice consumer expert Jerry Houseago warns it might be a scam if:
- it seems too good to be true – for example, a holiday that’s much cheaper than you’d expect
- you suspect you’re not dealing with a real company – for example, if there’s no postal address
- you’ve been pressured to transfer money quickly or in an unusual way – like by iTunes vouchers or a transfer service
- you’ve been asked to give away personal information like passwords or PINs
- you haven’t had written confirmation of what’s been agreed
If you’ve been scammed, Jerry advises:
- talk to your bank or card company immediately if you’ve handed over any financial and sensitive information or made a payment
- report the scam to Citizens Advice, via www.citizensadvice.org.uk
- text scams can be reported to your mobile phone provider by forwarding it to 7726
- also report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040