Consumer: Millions fear falling victim to fraudsters

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Millions of people are worried about being scammed - while one in five believe fraudsters have attempted to con them out of money in the last year.

Research revealed that almost three quarters of people aged 55 and over - equivalent to 13.7m residents - are concerned, while 40 per cent worryingly admitted not knowing how any of the most common scams work.

Out of those who believed they had already been targeted, 70 per cent said they had received an email that they thought was a scam, 36 per cent had been called by a potential fraudster and 13 per cent had been sent a scam in the post. CLICK FOR MORE YEP NEWS HEADLINES

The research - carried out as part of an annual fraud awareness campaign by Santander - also questioned the children of over 55s, with two thirds saying they believed their parents are at risk of being scammed.

Karen Tyler, head of fraud at Santander, said: “Scams against individuals can be devastating, it is therefore so important that people are aware of the different types of scams and take steps to protect themselves. The research shows that many older people are worried about being targeted and we would strongly advise them to pick up one of our leaflets, visit our website or speak to our staff in branch.”

Despite their concerns, the people questioned admitted to being lax about their security.

A quarter said they don’t always check their online bank account for unusual payments, 27 per cent don’t always shield their PIN at the cashpoint and a third would share their personal details over the phone.

Only 32 per cent said they have taken steps to safeguard against fraud in the last 12 months.

As part of the campaign, Santander is raising awareness of the most common scams - including telephone fraud and the new spoofing technique, where a telephone number is “spoofed” to appear genuine - as well as pension liberation scams, which have increased since the pension reforms came into effect in April.

New leaflets and magnetic advice cards are available in branches and staff will be given additional training to advise customers and help to prevent cases occurring. The bank will also be giving tips and advice to help people stay safe and protect themselves from being scammed.

Broadcaster Peter Sissons, who is supporting the initiative, said: “Every year thousands of people, particularly the older generation, are targeted by fraudsters.

“It’s worrying that so many people are unaware of the most common types of scams. Santander’s campaign will help raise awareness of these scams and help people to keep their money safe.”