Scammers continue to target as the cost-of-living crisis bites

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New research by Citizen’s Advice Dorset has found that 76% of people in the South West have been targeted by a scammer this year. As the cost-of-living crisis deepens, this number is expected to rise further, and the organisation is concerned.

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, and 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.”

The top five most common types of scams reported were:

  • Deliveries, portal and courier services
  • Government or HMRC scams
  • Banking
  • Rebates and refunds
  • Investment or financial

How to spot a scam
Citizens Advice Dorset is sharing five top tips to help you guard against a potential scam:

  1. 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
  2. You suspect you’re not dealing with a real company or a genuine person – take a moment to step back and double-check. ALWAYS check the email address from the sender
  3. You’ve been pressured to transfer money quickly
  4. You’ve been asked to pay in an unusual way – like by an iTunes vouchers
  5. You’ve been asked to give away personal information such as passwords or PINs.

What to do

If you’ve been scammed, Citizens Advice Dorset advises you to talk to your bank or card company immediately if you’ve handed over any financial and sensitive information or made a payment.

Secondly, report the scam:

  • Offline scams – those using the telephone, post and coming to your door, can be reported to the Citizens Advice website or by calling 0808 223 1133.
  • online scams – report to the dedicated Scams Action service either online or on 0808 250 5050
  • Text scams – report to your mobile phone provider by forwarding it to 7726

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