Keep an eye out for con artists: internet scams cost the UK £2.3 billion.
During the epidemic, online swindles increased by a third, as internet transactions increased, leaving victims with £2.3 billion in debt.
In the year to April, 413,553 cases were reported to Action Fraud, increasing 33% from the previous year.
In the year leading up to 2020, however, the increase was just 8%, demonstrating the magnitude of the “scams industry” boom in the previous year.
However, the full scope of the problem is almost certainly far larger.
According to crime data from the Office for National Statistics, there were more than four million fraud incidents in 2020. It’s estimated that just about 10% of frauds are reported to Action Fraud.
The most common sort of fraud was online shopping frauds, which increased by 65 percent in a year.
Online shopping scams claimed the lives of more than 103,000 people, which is more than the next three categories of cons combined. Young people were the hardest afflicted, with 56 percent of Action Fraud claims coming from those aged 20 to 39.
In comparison, 34% of people aged 40 to 59 are unemployed. Only 9% of those affected were between the ages of 60 and 79.
Scams by phone and text message grew by 83 percent year over year.
Fraudsters appeared to have taken advantage of people’s changing habits, according to consumer magazine Which?, with a recent spike in messages from fraudulent courier and delivery businesses asking receivers for admin fees to recover parcels.
Online shopping frauds grew by 65 percent, ahead of investment fraud, which increased by 50 percent and cost victims £535 million, the greatest amount ever reported. There was also a 39 percent increase in “recovery fraud,” in which victims are duped a second time by crooks claiming to be assisting them in recouping damages from a previous scam. Victims lost an average of £14,408 each.
Which? wants the government’s Online Safety Bill to make it legal for internet platforms to identify, remove, and prevent bogus and fraudulent content from appearing on their sites.
“Fraudsters have added to the anguish of many individuals over the last year by using the pandemic and the rise in internet shopping as a springboard for defrauding an increasing number of victims,” Jenny Ross, Which? Money editor, said.
“Tech companies, banks, telecom providers, regulators, and the government all need to stay on top of scammers’ shifting methods.
“They need to double-check everything.”Brinkwire Summary News”.