Holiday scams costing consumers over £3,500Which? finds average loss from a scam is £1,488

19 August 2013

Average cost of a scam

A new Which? survey reveals consumers who are falling foul of a scam lose on average £1,488, with holiday scams tricking people out of the most money on average. 

In the survey of Which? members, we found that holiday scams are costing victims £3,677 on average.

If you think you've been scammed and are out of pocket as a result of it, read our guide showing how to get your money back after a scam.

Scam correspondence on the rise

In the past three years two-thirds (66%) of Which? members have been exposed to a scam, or they know someone who has.

Meanwhile seven in 10 (72%) people surveyed said that they’ve noticed an increase in scam correspondence in the last three years. Eight in 10 people surveyed (79%) were concerned about a friend or family member being tricked.

Which? finds the scams that are most likely to catch consumers out

Consumers are becoming more savvy about recognising certain scams - 94% in our survey that were exposed to phishing emails did not respond to them.  But we found that scammers are becoming more sophisticated and finding new ways to get consumers’ personal details and money.

Online shopping scams are most likely to catch consumers out – three-quarters (73%) exposed to online shopping scams were tricked, losing £112 on average. 

Other common scams include document processing sites, which aren't illegal, but usually charge you more for a service, such as passport or EHIC applications than you need to pay. Half (50%) of those exposed to a document processing site scam ended up falling for it, premium texts (46%), holiday scams (43%) and investment scams (25%). 

Read our guide and watch our video for advice on how to spot a scam.

Consumers should stay vigilant to avoid becoming a scam victim

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: 'It’s encouraging that consumers are becoming more vigilant about spotting common scams but as the scammers get more sophisticated, many people are still falling victim, with some being left severely out of pocket.

'Consumers should treat any unexpected correspondence with suspicion and be particularly wary of anything that sounds too good to be true.'

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