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Majority of adults report increase in scam attempts

John Fitzsimons
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John Fitzsimons

Almost three quarters of adults in the UK have seen an increase in the volume of financial scam attempts received over the past six months.

That’s according to research from Fidelity International, which warned that with the cost-of-living crisis becoming more pronounced, it’s more important than ever for everyone to be vigilant in guarding against scams.

More than half of respondents said they had seen a greater number of attempted scams through email (55%) and text message (52%), while 46% noted an increase in social media scams and 44% reported a rise in attempted phone scams.

Around a quarter noted an increase in postal scams, with face-to-face or doorstep scams on the rise according to one in five.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of respondents said they were worried about being targeted by scammers, with more than half (52%) expressing concern about their family and friends falling victim to such scams.

Ed Monk, associate director for personal investing at Fidelity International, said that with the rising cost of living, it was likely that people would continue to see greater numbers of scam attempts, as fraudsters look to take advantage of those trying to find ways to save or make money.

He said: “Scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself if you think you are being targeted by a scam – such as questioning offers that look too good to be true, never clicking on links that have been sent to you unsolicited and always questioning whether the person contacting you is who they say they are. 

“Remember, it never hurts to stop and assess a situation, and it could save you a lot of stress and potentially prevent financial fallout in the long-run. Reputable companies won’t try to rush you into making a financial decision – scammers often do.”

What to do when being targeted by a scam

The Fidelity study found that one in three people were unsure what they should do when targeted by scammers. Despite this, knowledge of organisations like Citizens Advice was high at 93%, while one in three said they were also aware of the Financial Conduct Authority’s ScamSmart campaign.

If you believe you have fallen victim to a scam, then it’s vital you contact your bank, building society or credit card provider as soon as possible so that they can take steps to cancel any payments you may have approved.

It’s also worth reporting scam attempts to the likes of Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime.

Last week, Action Fraud warned that criminals were using the cost-of-living crisis as a way to scam the public, conning people into sharing their personal details.