Scammers taking advantage of cost-of-living crisis to steal from people in Bucks

 We are wary of scammers taking advantage of the cost-of-living crisis and want to reassure people in Bucks. 

We can provide advice and tips on how to avoid falling victim to scammers and give support through our national consumer helpline so people can check if they are being scammed. This week we have issued a stark warning  that scammers are preying on the elderly and vulnerable in the cost-of-living crisis. 

Thalia Jervis, our Chief Executive  says, 

“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. Scammers will often seek to exploit vulnerability – from the coronavirus pandemic to recessions, in times of difficulty often we see a corresponding increase in related scams and the cost-of-living crisis seems to be no different.” 

Man and woman scams awareness 2022

We are encouraging everyone to always keep an eye out for scams and want to remind people that they can and do affect anyone. Some of the main warning signs of scams to are:  

  • It seems too good to be true – like an email saying you’ve won a competition you don’t remember entering 
  • 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 or talk to family and friends 
  • You’ve been asked to pay for something urgently or in an unusual way – for example by bank transfer or gift vouchers  
  • You’ve been asked to give away personal information 
  • Someone asks to log in to your computer remotely for any reason. 
 

If you or someone you know thinks they might be being scammed, you should get advice immediately. You can contact the Citizens Advice consumer service for help with what to do next, and report scams or suspected scams to Action Fraud. You cancall Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133. 

Camilla Smith-Hammock, Communications Officer for us says,

”Anyone can fall victim to a scam and there is no shame in it if you have been. We all need to take steps to help protect ourselves. It is so important not to be rushed into making decisions. You should never give money or personal details such as bank information, to anyone you don’t know, trust or have only met online. If someone pressures you for these, it’s most likely a scam”.

The stats on scams  

  • 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.

 

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