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People are being reminded to stay vigilant and help deter scammers.
This year’s national Scam Awareness Fortnight runs from 15-28 June, with a particular focus on COVID-19 related scams.
At a time when lots of people are under financial pressure, health related anxieties are widespread and businesses face existential threats: the danger of scams that tap into and prey on people's vulnerabilities during the health crisis is acute. Lockdown hasn’t deterred scammers.
Citizens Advice and the Consumer Protection Partnership have launched their annual Scam Awareness campaign to encourage people to share and report about their experiences and look out for others.
Citizens Advice has seen a 19 per cent increase in the number of people visiting its website for advice to address scams.
Over a third of British adults (36%) have been the target of a scam since lockdown began, new research by Citizens Advice reveals.
Polling conducted on behalf of the charity also showed that certain groups were at an increased risk of being contacted by a scammer, often those who could least afford it:
Citizens Advice has seen calls from members of the public concerned about bogus testing kits, vaccinations and government refunds.
Citizens Advice web pages relating to scams saw an average of 49,000 page views a month since lockdown began in March, compared to an average of 41,000 page views in the three months prior. The 19% rise in people going to Citizens Advice is a cause for concern according to Ed Hodson, Research & Campaigns Co-ordinator, who said: "“We know that scammers prey on the vulnerable, but with the COVID-19-driven lockdown creating so much uncertainty and isolation we are all more exposed to professional fraudsters.
"Our only defence is to be scam aware ourselves, to keep a watchful eye on our friends and family and to report scams as soon as possible. Together we can beat the scammers.”
Citizens Advice is urging anyone who thinks they may have been targeted by or has seen an online scam to report it to its Scams Action service, either online or on 0808 250 5050.
For in-person, mail and telephone scams, concerned consumers can report issues to the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133. Citizens Advice will give advice on what to do next and report the scam to Trading Standards.
Scams should also be reported to Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre.