76% of people in the South West have been targeted by a scammer so far this year as the cost-of-living crisis takes hold, new research by Citizens Advice Dorset has found.
Of those people targeted by a scam, the top five most common types of scams reported in the South West included:
- Deliveries, portal and courier services – 56%
- Government or HMRC scams – 46%
- Banking – 29%
- Rebates and refunds – 28%
- Investment or financial – 21%
Ahead of many households receiving vital government help to cope with rising prices, Citizens Advice and the Consumer Protection Partnership have launched their annual Scams Awareness campaign.
For information on the genuine types of help available and how you’ll receive it see If you’re struggling with living costs and Grants and benefits to help you pay your energy bills on the Citizens Advice website.
Rovarn Wickremasinghe, Chief Officer, Citizens Advice Bridport, said: “A shocking number of people in the South West have been targeted by a scammer so far this year. We know scammers prey on our worries and fears, sadly, the cost-of-living crisis is no exception.”
“Anyone can be targeted by a scam, and as the purse strings are tightened and financial pressures pile on, it’s important we work together to protect ourselves and each other.”
To stop more people from falling victim to these types of scams, Citizens Advice Dorset is sharing five top tips to help you guard against a potential scam:
- It seems too good to be true – for example, scammers pretending to be energy companies to lure people into “too good to be true” deals
- You suspect you’re not dealing with a real company or a genuine person – take a moment to step back and double-check. Check the email address from the sender
- You’ve been pressured to transfer money quickly
- You’ve been asked to pay in an unusual way – like by an iTunes vouchers or a transfer service
- You’ve been asked to give away personal information such as passwords, PINs or other verification codes.
If you’ve been scammed, Citizens Advice Dorset advises:
- Talk to your bank or card company immediately if you’ve handed over any financial and sensitive information or made a payment
- Report the scam to Citizens Advice. Offline scams, like those using the telephone, post and coming to your door, can be reported to the Citizens Advice website or by calling 0808 223 1133. Report online scams to the dedicated Scams Action service either online or on 0808 250 5050
- Text scams can be reported to your mobile phone provider by forwarding it to 7726
- Also report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
For more information contact: Sian Smith, Comms Officer, email: [email protected]
About Citizens Advice Dorset:
Citizens Advice in Dorset provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities to enable them to find a way forward whatever problems they face. We value diversity, promote equality, challenge discrimination wherever we see it and aim to improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives.
Citizens Advice in Dorset is located across three regions:
Citizens Advice Bridport & District www.bridportca.org.uk tel: 0800 144 8848
Citizens Advice Central Dorset www.centraldorsetca.org.uk tel: 0800 144 8848
Citizens Advice East Dorset & Purbeck www.edpcitizensadvice.org.uk tel: 0800 144 8848
We give people the knowledge and confidence they need to find their way forward – whoever they are, and whatever their problem.
Notes to editors:
- Yonder Data solutions surveyed a representative sample of 2,088 adults living in the UK. The sample was weighted to be nationally representative of the UK. Fieldwork took place between 18 and 19 May 2022. Polling respondents were asked the following questions:
- Since the beginning of the year (1 January 2022), have you been contacted by anyone that you think was trying to scam you?
- What kind of scam were you targeted by? Please specify all that apply (respondents could have ticked multiple answers): Deliveries, postal and courier services; Government or HMRC; Investment or financial; Rebates and refunds; Banking; Online shopping; Health or medical; Online dating / relationship; Energy; Pension; Pets; Employment; Other.
- Scams Awareness is an annual campaign which aims to create a network of confident, alert consumers who know what to do when they see a scam. This year’s campaign will take place over two weeks, 13 -26 June. The campaign includes a range of organisations across the Consumer Protection Partnership, including Trading Standards, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Citizens Advice Scotland.
- Citizens Advice is made up of the national charity Citizens Advice; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.
- To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
- For consumer advice, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 to talk in Welsh.