Every year more than 3 million people in the UK fall victim to scams losing hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of their hard-earned pounds. Isn't it time we started fighting back?
Well, you're in luck - May is Scams Awareness Month, or SAM2014, a campaign set up by Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and Trading Standards to give people the information, skills and confidence to spot and stop scams.
Scams are schemes that con people out of their money using fraudulent methods and can come in many forms – online, mail, telephone and even on your doorstep. Scammers are always at the front of technological changes; anything we use to make our lives easier, the scammers will target. The internet is in fact the channel for 84% of identity fraud, costing consumers £3.3 billion a year.
Crime figures show almost a 60% rise in reported fraud over the past five years, boosted by a rise in identity theft and online scams. Online shopping and auction scams were in fact the most common fraud reported in 2013, costing consumers some £63.3 million.
Despite these huge figures just 5% of scams are actually reported and many consumers are suffering in silence, perhaps due to embarrassment at being caught out or even apathy. One of the main aims of SAM2014 is to get people talking about scams – if you share your knowledge then it will help others not to get caught out in the same way.
Let's take a look at some of the most common scams…
These phishing scams (also called vishing) can also come in the form of telephone communication, texts, malware downloaded onto your computer, or even a courier scam.
These are just some of the ways that unscrupulous fraudsters are trying to trick consumers into handing over their money, but how do we stop them?
In this technologically advancing age we will never be able to rule out scams altogether, but with a bit of sound advice, a keen eye and above all communication, consumers can learn how to fight back and recognise scams before getting caught up in them.
Here are a few pointers to keep one step ahead of the scammers:
Click here to find out more about Scam Awareness month (SAM2014)
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