Supporting Scam Awareness Fortnight

The cost of living crisis has created another difficult period when scammers will seek to exploit the most vulnerable.

That’s why Credit Unions of Wales is supporting the Scams Awareness Campaign (13-26 June) to highlight the financial and emotional impact scams have on individuals.

Scammers take advantage of people affected by challenge – from the coronavirus pandemic to recessions and during these periods evidence shows a corresponding increase in related scams.

From early data, the cost of living crisis seems to be no different. The increased financial pressure many will be facing has put more people into difficult situations, with many facing issues with debt and being unable to afford essential goods and services.

Scammers are likely to exploit these issues, so empowering the public to protect themselves and others from scams will have heightened importance.

Spam emails, ‘suspicious activity’ alerts from your bank, news stories about data breaches – unfortunately, scams and fraud seem to have become part of our daily lives.
Reports of scams are increasing sharply and opportunistic scammers continue to prey on even the savviest of consumers.

Research by Citizens Advice Bureau 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

Some of the tips on how to spot a scammer are:

  • 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 have concerns about being scammed then:

  • 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 online
  • 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
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