One in 20 people lost money to a scam last year, according to new research from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
The watchdog found that 39% of those who lost money were the victims of two particular scams – advance fee and money transfer scams, and prize draws and sweepstakes.
Money transfer or advance fee scams dupe people into handing over their bank details or paying an up-front fee by leading them to believe they are entitled to an inheritance, donating to charity or even helping release funds from a corrupt country. Recent figures from the OFT also revealed that more than 3.5 million adults fall victim to scams every year, losing out on a total of £3.5bn.
Rip-off victims embarrassed
The OFT also reported that 39% of those scammed in the last 12 months said they did not report it to the authorities due to feeling ashamed and embarrassed at having been conned.
A campaign is being launched as part of Scams Awareness Month calling on people to drop scam mailings they have received into designated bins or boxes at local libraries and public areas across the country. The aim of the scheme is to help consumers recognise and reject scams – visit www.oft.gov.uk to find out more.
You can report fraud to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.org.uk.
If you’ve been ripped off or fallen victim to a scam, get practical advice on how to avoid future cons with our comprehensive guide to rip-offs and scams.
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