Third of Britons targeted by scammers

Cyber scam

Citizens Advice has reported a rise in people getting in contact about scams since coronavirus lockdown 

15th June 2020 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A third of Britons have been targeted by scammers during lockdown.

New research by Citizens Advice has revealed 36% of people have been contacted by scammers since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Polling conducted on behalf of the charity also showed that certain groups were at an increased risk of being contacted by a scammer, often those who could least afford it. Of those with a disability or long term illness, 45% said they had been targeted and half of those at an increased risk of coronavirus or shielding had been contacted.

The charity has seen calls from members of the public concerned about bogus testing kits, vaccinations and government refunds. It’s reported a 19% rise in people coming to its website for scam advice. Citizens Advice web pages relating to scams saw an average of 49,000 page views a month since lockdown began in March, compared to an average of 41,000 page views in the three months prior. 

From this research, the majority of people (64%) say they are worried someone they know will fall foul of a con. And most people (90%) reported they felt wary of scammers taking advantage of the situation.

Citizens Advice and the Consumer Protection Partnership have launched their annual Scams Awareness campaign to encourage people to share and report about their experiences and look out for others.

Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive Derek Mitchell said: “People in Scotland are targeted by scams every day, and in the Citizens Advice network we see cases of people who have lost money to them, sometimes hundreds or even thousands of pounds. This campaign is all about raising awareness of scams and encouraging people to be more confident about how to spot them and fight them.

“When someone steals money from you in a scam, that is a crime, and should be treated as such. That means reporting it to the police, and telling other people about it so they don’t get caught out by it.

“The coronavirus epidemic has seen new scams, with scammers trying to sell fake cures and seek donations to fake charities. It is distressing that they are trying to take advantage of people in this way, but the answer is for all of us to fight back against them.

“That means being constantly vigilant, reporting scams when they happen and talking more about them in general. Anyone in Scotland who has been hit by a scam can get advice from their local Citizens Advice Bureau.”