Around 36m adults targeted by scams so far in 2021 – Citizens Advice

Fake deliveries or parcels made up the bulk of scam contact, Citizens Advice said.

An estimated 36 million adults have been targeted by scammers since January, according to Citizens Advice.

The charity said more than two-thirds (68%) of people think they have been targeted by fraudsters this year so far.

While over-55s are most likely to be targeted, those 34 and under are nearly five times more likely to fall victim to a scam than their older counterparts, the charity found.

Younger people were most likely to be targeted by text or messaging service (61%), while those over 55 were most likely to be targeted over the phone (73%).

The bulk (54%) of scam contact was about fake deliveries or parcels, but in 41% of cases someone was pretending to be from government and 12% of scam attempts were by someone offering a fake investment or “get rich quick” scheme.

Citizens Advice said the number of scam reports to it has increased sharply.

Comparing the first five months of 2021 with the same period in 2020, there has been a 123% increase in scam reports made to the charity.

In one case seen by Citizens Advice, an elderly man sent £240,000 to an account he thought belonged to his bank.

In another, a young woman got in touch when she lost £2,000 to a fake cryptocurrency company after receiving a message from a friend’s hacked social media account.

And in another case, a woman from Suffolk lost £750 that she had sent to a bogus dog breeder.

Citizens Advice and the Consumer Protection Partnership have launched their annual Scams Awareness campaign.

Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “From fraudulent get-rich-quick schemes to dodgy texts, opportunistic scammers continue to prey on even the savviest of consumers. Our research shows that when it comes to scams anyone can be targeted, and anyone can be tricked.

“It’s more important than ever we all do our bit to report scams when we see them to help protect ourselves and others. By learning how scammers operate, and helping each other understand what to look out for, we can all work together to stop fraudsters in their tracks.“

Paul Scully, Consumer Minister, said: “As these figures show, absolutely anyone can be the victim of a scam. Criminals don’t care who they’re scamming, as long as they get what they want.

“You might think you’re really tech-savvy, but we’re now seeing scams so convincing they’d give a computer programmer pause for thought.

“The best way to protect ourselves from scams is to dispel the myth that only a certain type of person is at risk, share experiences, and report suspected scams to Citizens Advice and Action Fraud.”

John Herriman, chief executive of Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: “Trading Standards professionals across the country are working around the clock to help protect the public from malicious fraudsters, and their work throughout the pandemic has been exceptional. Their work, however, is enhanced by an informed and empowered public.”

Louise Baxter, head of the National Trading Standards Scams Team, said: “Just being targeted by scams has been shown to damage people’s wellbeing.

“We urge people to protect themselves and their loved ones from scams by completing our free Friends Against Scams awareness training at”

Opinium surveyed more than 2,000 people across the UK, among whom 68% said they had been contacted by someone that they think was trying to scam them.

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