You are here: Home -

2020 named worst year ever for scams

0
Written by:
02/02/2021
Last year saw the highest number of scams on record, according to new research from Barclays.

The study found that fraudulent activity jumped by a whopping 66% between July and December, with the bank suggesting that scammers saw the opportunity to take advantage of pandemic-induced uncertainty across the country.

Barclays’ data found that investment scams shared top spot for the highest value claims, with 29% of such claims. It noted that these scams often centre on cloned webpages, so that victims believe they are using a legitimate website and are duped into sharing their personal or account details. 

However, impersonation scams also accounted for 29% of high value claims. This is where a banking customer is talked into moving money out of their account and into a supposed ‘safe account’ by a scammer, having been convinced that their own account is somehow at risk. Impersonation scams were not only behind some of the biggest value frauds, but were also the most commonly recorded scam by volume for Barclays, accounting for almost a quarter (22%) of frauds.

While scams are on the rise, there are concerns that Brits are too embarrassed to come forward when they have been duped. A poll by Barclays found that more than half (54%) of people who have fallen victim to a scam have been left feeling too embarrassed to report it.

Given that one in three of us have already been tricked by such schemes, that’s an awful lot of people who are keeping quiet about the money they’ve lost.

Previous research has suggested that men are most at risk of scams, while the introduction of Covid-19 vaccines has provided yet more opportunities for scammers to dupe victims out of their money.

Jim Winters, head of fraud at Barclays, said: “With more and more Brits finding themselves the victim of fraud and scams, Barclays is challenging the stigma associated with being embarrassed and encouraging people to speak out about their experiences.

“There are actionable steps you can take to help protect yourself against being scammed. If you’re suspicious, talk to someone you trust. Don’t be afraid to admit to being duped into a scam. When you receive a suspicious email, phone call or text message, never assume it’s who you think. And most importantly, don’t ignore your concerns. If ever in doubt, speak out.”

How to protect yourself from scams

There are plenty of practical things you can do which will reduce your chances of falling victim to the most common forms of scam. 

  • Be suspicious ‒ if you are contacted out of the blue, whether it’s for an investment opportunity or supposed warnings about your bank account being compromised, then you should immediately be on your guard.
  • Is it too good to be true? Investment scams often tempt victims by promising returns that are simply unrealistic. If the promised returns sound too good to be true, they probably are.
  • Phishing emails, where scammers pretend to be from a legitimate organisation, will push you towards clicking links within the emails. This will then either take you to a cloned website or install malware on your machine. So don’t be tempted into clicking.
  • Scammers will pile pressure on you to act quickly. It might be that the killer investment they are promising is only available if you act today, or perhaps your account is at immediate risk. It’s crucial that you take your time and don’t allow them to rush you into making an expensive mistake.
  • We are all fallible, and there may be times when you fall victim to a scammer. Staying silent is the worst thing you can do though ‒ it’s important that you immediately report it, not only to your bank, but to a fraud prevention body like Action Fraud. 

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Autumn Statement: Everything you need to know at a glance

Yesterday Chancellor Jeremy Hunt made his first fiscal statement in the role, outlining a range of tax measure...

End of Help to Buy: 10 alternatives for first-time buyers

The deadline for Help to Buy Equity Loan applications passed on 31 October. If you’re a first-time buyer who...

Moving to an energy prepayment meter: Everything you need to know

As households struggle with the soaring cost of energy, tens of thousands of billpayers are expected to move o...

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

DIY investors: 10 common mistakes to avoid

For those without the help and experience of an adviser, here are 10 common DIY investor mistakes to avoid.

Mortgage down-valuations: Tips to avoid pulling out of a house sale

Down-valuations are on the rise. So, what does it mean for home buyers, and what can you do?

Five tips for surviving a bear market mauling

The S&P 500 has slipped into bear market territory and for UK investors, the FTSE 250 is also on the edge. Her...

Money Tips of the Week