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Anyone can be the victim of a scam. Scamming is a form of fraud, usually a scheme to try and steal money, personal information or data from a person or organisation.
Statistics show that the 40s – 60s age group are most affected by scams, such as pension scams, dating scams and property scams, due to having greater access to financial assets. But also, this group may be more likely to report scams.
The Over 70s are more likely to be targeted than any other group and tend to fall victim to phone and mail scams as well as being more likely to be the target of recurring scams.
Although the 18 – 24 group tend to be more “savvy” about using the internet, etc., because of their confidence they can become complacent – also many of this group are unlikely to report scams.
Finally, the Socially Isolated may suffer the greatest detriment due to the amount of money lost as well as the impact on health and well-being.
What is a scam?
A scam is a scheme to try to steal money, personal information or data from a person or organisation and can happen to anyone. They can be in the form of post, phone call, text message, email or even somebody turning up at your home trying to scam you. Scams include communication coming out of the blue, have never heard of the thing you have been contacted about, asked to send money in advance and or told to respond to something quickly, so you don’t miss out.
There has been a 300% rise in recruitment fraud over the past 2 years with as many as one in ten job seekers being affected. These days 67% of people go online to look for a job. This is most commonly done via job boards, social networking platforms (e.g. LinkedIn or Facebook), apps, gig platforms (e.g. Upwork) or recruitment companies. All these attract both genuine and fake job adverts due to the number of users they have.
In some cases, fraudsters will “head hunt” victims by looking at their profile on LinkedIn or a CV on a job board and creating an “ideal job”. They can then claim to be an employer, or employer’s agent considering you for a position. After questionnaires, phone interviews and a referral to the “firm’s” website – a job offer may be made – but there will be a fee to pay (for “administration”) or if a job offer from abroad, for visa/accommodation or travel. You may also be asked to provide your bank details.
Fraudsters may ask for an application fee. Of course, there is no job, and the fraudsters pocket your money.
Other scams involve training – with money paid up front fora non-existing course or have completed the “training” discover that it is not recognised training and there is no job.
The job seekers most affected are those who can least afford it as those typically targeted are ordinary people on a low income. Figures from Action Fraud show that the most common amount lost is £100, but the average amount is £4,000.
For a guide to a safer job search see Safer Jobs Website
Holiday Booking Fraud – please see our previous article on this type of scam
Cold calling scams. – please see previous article on this type of scam
How can you avoid being scammed?
To help spot scams think:
Trust your instincts: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you think something might be a scam, don’t reply – then throw it away, delete it or hang up, get further advice and most importantly report it to Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040 www.actionfraud.police.uk or trading standards. Or you can get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service 03454 04 05 06 or tell a friend, neighbour or relative about any scams you become aware of.
Remember; do not be too embarrassed to report a scam, if you have been a victim. By reporting it, you may help someone else avoid being a victim.
For more information and advice see our scams awareness information