10 Facts about Scams – Scams Awareness Month

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Every year more than three million people in the UK fall victims to scams losing hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds.

  • It is estimated that nearly half of people in the UK (48 per cent) have been targeted by a scam.
  •  Online shopping and auction scams were the most common fraud reported in 2013 and cost UK consumers £63.6 million.
  • Crime figures show a near 60 per cent rise in reported fraud over the past five years boosted by a rise in identity theft and online scams. 
  • Just five per cent of scams are reported. 
  • Scams come in a variety of ways, post, phone, email, online, on the doorstep. Or combinations of these methods – courier crime is an example of this.
  • The main channels for scams are: web/email (30 per cent) phone call/texts (29 per cent) letter/fax (14 per cent) in person (13 per cent) other (14 per cent). 
  • There are thousands of different scams. Some common ones are fake lotteries and prize draws, bogus health cures, dodgy investment schemes, pyramid selling and phishing. 
  • The internet is the delivery channel for 84 per cent of identity fraud, a crime that costs UK consumers £3.3billion a year. 
  • There are some dubious practices which may leave consumers deeply frustrated or even out of pocket, for example, a legitimate company providing a poor service or a utility company representative persuading people to switch without any financial benefit. These unfair commercial practices are not specifically addressed as part of Scams Awareness Month however people who do experience them should contact the Citizens Advice consumer service 08454 04 05 06. 
  • The rules on distance selling change in June 2014. For further information see: www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/news/whats_new_ jul13_consumer_law_changes.