Fraudsters are conning people out of their life savings and using investment opportunities as bait. So far this year, scammers have pocketed £118 m
Fraudsters are conning people out of their life savings and using investment opportunities as bait. So far this year, scammers have pocketed £118 million, with the average victim losing £36,250 per fraud.
Fraud now accounts for more than a third (39 percent) of all crime according to figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) for 2021.
While scams come in all forms, crypto criminals have seen their profits almost double over the last year to £226million, according to NordVPN.
Marijus Briedis, chief technology officer and digital privacy expert at NordVPN, said: “With inflation skyrocketing and traditional savings rates failing to keep up, bogus crypto investment schemes offering the prospect for high returns are the perfect bait for scammers.
“These frauds are thriving, despite the huge crash in Bitcoin and other currencies.”
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She said: “Fraudsters are always on the lookout for new ways to trick victims out of their hard-earned cash, and with designer trainers amongst the latest must-have items being targeted, the criminals are ready to hotfoot it away as soon as they have their hands on your money.
“Purchase scams come in all shapes and sizes, but the vast majority start with items advertised on social media, where it’s all too easy for fraudsters to use fake profiles and advertise items that don’t exist.
“When shopping online, the best way to keep safe is to buy from a trusted retailer whenever possible, and always pay by card for the greatest protection.
“If you’re unable to do those things, that should be a big red flag that you’re about to get scammed.”
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Top tips to stay safe from purchase scams:
- Always use your debit or credit card when you buy online. This helps to protect your money should anything go wrong.
- Fraudsters use social media to post scam offers. They can even send them straight to your inbox. Always search for deals yourself.
- Check any offer that comes by text or email to make sure it’s genuine. Call the sender to find out using a number you trust, not one in a message. Or visit the website to check. Never click on a link without checking first.
- Low prices and great deals can hide scams. See if you can find them elsewhere. And remember, if an item is selling out, fraudsters can charge more to trick desperate buyers.
- Make sure a seller or website is genuine. Look for good reviews from different buyers. Be wary of mixed, bad or no reviews at all. It’s better to buy from a trusted retailer.
- Ask questions before you buy. If an item is expensive, offer to pay a deposit. If a seller can’t give any details about an item or tries to rush you into paying, it’s probably a scam.