/ Money

Do you live in a fraud hotspot?

UK fraud hotspot

Latest Which? research has mapped fraud hotspots in the UK and revealed the ways that you could be targeted. So do you recognise any of these scams?

When we drilled down into the data, we found that some people could be more likely to be victims of certain types of fraud than others. We’ve picked out typical victim profiles for a few different fraud types.

Fraud patterns

The analysis of reported fraud suggests that where you live might affect what types of scams you’re likely to be exposed to. We looked at exclusive stats released to us by Action Fraud and managed to identify hotspots for several different types of fraud.

But we wanted to find out if there are more patterns in the data. What types of areas were being targeted by different types of fraud and whether there are any links between fraud and the average age of people in a certain area, for example?

In analysing the data we were able to identify hotspots for certain types of reported fraud – such as Norfolk being the capital for dating scams and Northamptonshire the capital of fraud against shops.

Unfortunately, full data for Scotland and Northern Ireland isn’t yet available as Scotland isn’t a member of Action Fraud and Northern Ireland only joined in 2015. To give you an indication of the most common types of fraud reported in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the graph below shows data collected between 2014-16.

Fraud targets

The data we looked at suggests that people living in areas with younger populations – like London, West Midlands and Bedfordshire – had higher rates of reported lender loan fraud, where people are duped into paying fees for fake loans.

However, areas with older average ages, like Dyfed-Powys, Dorset, and Devon and Cornwall, were much more likely to report falling victim to computer-fixing fraud. This type of scam where someone pretending to be from a tech company, like Microsoft, tells you there’s a problem with your computer and offers to fix it for a fee.

We decided to ask the police what the typical ‘victim profile’ for different types of frauds looked like, and their details confirmed our suspicions. The police said that victims of computer-fixing fraud were likely to be women, aged 70-79, living in rural areas. The average loss for this type of scam is about £90.

For reported cheque, card and online banking fraud, women are also marginally more likely to be victims than men, but the most common age category was 20-29.

Separate Office for National Statistics data also suggests that those in managerial and professional occupations (with disposable income) are more likely to be a victim of this type of fraud.

And those aged 30-39 were more likely to be victims of fake or stolen products fraud than any other age group. Remarkably, the data also suggests that men are 50% more likely to be victims than women, while police put the average loss at £5,000.

According to the reported cases of fraud, door-to-door sales fraud mainly targeted men aged 80-89. Victims were also more likely to live in urban areas where fraudsters can target multiple homes in a short period. The average loss for this type of fraud can be up to £4,000.

Fighting fraud

We don’t know for sure if fraudsters are actively targeting people in this way. However, with fraud on the rise nationally, we want the government to set out an ambitious agenda for tackling fraud and scams.


Have you spotted any of these scams in your local area? Do you know people that have fallen victim to them? Do you want the government to do more to protect victims of scams?

Comments
Guest
Jean Hamilto says:
21 June 2017

I find that telling various cold callers who, after confirming my name and address, then ask me my age bracket. I tell them I am in my early 90’s but that I really love having a chat to them, so please don’t ring off. Strangely enough they always do very quickly…funny that!

Guest
Gaynor Marwood says:
21 June 2017

Love this, haven’t tried this one yet, will give it a whirl.

Guest
Mike Giddy says:
21 June 2017

When I get a call from a company saying they are from a Microsoft preferred company I keep them on line as long as possible, i.e. waiting for my computer to boot up, finding my debit card ext. Then suddenly remember (false) I don’t use Windows but Linux.
The idea is while they are on the phone to me they are not bothering some one else. They get very angry and hang up

Guest
Dee Galloway says:
22 June 2017

Yes Mike, good one. I’ve had several similar experiences with this and have had them hold on for a good half hour on one occasion and then suddenly remembered that I am with Apple!!

Guest
Peter Ellis says:
23 June 2017

They (the scammers) also pretend to be from your internet service provider, e.g. BT. Try saying, I believe you but send me an email as I am too busy right now. If they ask for your email address you definitely know that it is a scam, so give them a polite ( or otherwise a rude) mouthful and tell them that you were not born yesterday. I did this and their being foreigners failed to understand the meaning of the term.

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Guest

Lol that one they always do say i don’t have a computer and hang up.

Guest
SammyG says:
10 July 2017

The thing is they never say they’re from Microsoft, they always say they’re phoning from Windows ……. ……I always ask them which one of my 3 computers has the problem; which particular device IP address has the issue; if they don’t know this then I ask which Windows licence key is it; and when they can’t specify. I ask that if they’re clever enough to know I have a problem then why are they not clever enough to know this information …. the phone goes dead at their end pretty quickly

Guest
Alasdair Cook says:
18 September 2017

Will try that as i have an Apple Mac without windows!!

Guest

I usually ask them is it my laptop or desktop that they have found a problem with, when they answer I ask them are they an MCP, whatever the answer I tell them its nice to talk to another professional engineer as I am an Microsoft Certified Professional

Guest
Dan B says:
21 June 2017

While it is all well and good saying more needs to be done, there is already a lot being done. The National Trading Standards Board set up a National Scams Team which is doing a lot of brilliant work along with the majority of the local Trading Standards services and companies such as Royal Mail.

The problem is Austerity and the massive list of responsibilities Trading Standards already deal with. Officers are required to do so much more with less time and resources to do it. The officers are dedicated and do what they can, but the people who suffer are the elderly and the vulnerable.

Preventative work is undertaken but this only scratches the surface.

Guest
Valerie Mason says:
21 June 2017

I was a victim of a man pretending to be an officer in the US army based in Afghanistan. I found out about other ladies he was scamming too. He kept insisting he was real but would not send me a selfie photo or come and meet me face to face. I still have the photo of his profile picture and the name he goes under on FB.

Guest
Carol Beaumont says:
21 June 2017

I have experienced many ”hoax” calls regarding my computer and also one from ”BT” which I hastily reported to BT myself. I had a message from a friend on Facebook asking if I could help with a PayPal payment as her account had been hacked and she needed to pay something quickly. I do not have a PayPal account but I informed her that someone was using her name to gain access to my details with a view to extracting money from me. Apparently this scammer contacted other people of my friends. Trouble is, who do you report this to? I have no idea, and until there is a sure and safe way of reporting these incidents, it will continue.

Guest
Sandi Elton says:
17 July 2017

These are the people I use
Fraud.Alert@Met.Police.Uk
Spoof@Paypal.Co.Uk
Uk, Phishing@Nationwide. Co.
reportphishing@antiphishing.org
Spoof@Ebay.Co.Uk

Guest
David Smith says:
21 June 2017

Just had an e-mail from HMRC to say that I’ve paid too much tax, click here for form to recover. Needless to say, deleted but these people will try anything!

Guest
Hazel R says:
21 June 2017

I get these emails from time to time as well, and I don’t pay tax!!

Guest
Sm066y says:
4 July 2017

I’ve had these too. If you look on hmrc.gov.uk there is an official email address to forward any scam emails to, and you get a reply to thank you.

Profile photo of mars express
Guest

My bank REFUSES to report a serious credit card fraud (£5,600) to the Police. So I investigated and obtained the name, address and mobile phone number of at least one of the criminals, and reported the matter to the Police myself. The police REFUSE to take any action (because the bank has not reported any crime). So I complained to the Police and Crime Commissioner who has REFUSED to answer my complaint (copied to my MP). No investigation, no prosecution – criminals (whose names, addresses etc are known) are allowed to get away with £5,600 in modern Britain. (I have a press pack of all the sordid details…..)

Profile photo of wavechange
Guest

Perhaps the press might be interested in the story.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Guest

Wavechange this type of thing has already been widely publicised in the national press , banks themselves dont like personally persecuting due to bad publicity, but that is only the tip of the iceberg “Telegraph Money ” has heard from countless fraud victims who reported to =Action Fraud -HMG designated facility only to be told-“no action will be taken ” banks say -report to Action Fraud its not their job to do it . In the cases they do investigate its typically 6 weeks till its passed to another police department to investigate giving criminals to move money off-shore and escape . Action FRaud say it passes cases onto the police only if it believes a “network ” is involved . Fraud Department Smith+Williamson -accountancy – from a cost perspective victims losing less than £!00,000 were -Quote -simply not worth investigating . SFO- quote- smallest amount investigated =£ one (1) Million – Government doesnt have resources to investigate “small fraud cases ” . Remember how many times I quote the USA till I get criticism of – it doesn’t apply here your bl**dy right it doesn’t – USA – FBI involved many branches of government also – criminals caught sent to trial – 20 years imprisonment ( and thats on a good day ) taken VERY seriously there . That is a cut down version of the reasons in the UK that the public will never get real justice the rest involves the City and Big Banking actions which some wont want me to go into.

Profile photo of John Ward
Guest

I agree with you, Duncan. So long as the card-holder is recompensed for any losses the bank or credit card issuer determines whether or not taking further action is in their commercial interest – and the law & order authorities are content with that even though it leaves criminals at large and more crimes in prospect. Unless any government can find additional revenues for fighting commercial crime – perhaps by levying on commerce itself – this sort of police work will always be in competition with crimes against the person, and politicians of all flavours have prioritised the latter.

Profile photo of wavechange
Guest

Duncan – This reminds me of the times when Trading Standards has declined to investigate cases of fraud and sale of possibly unsafe goods on my behalf. Sometimes I am not proud to live in the UK.

Guest
Heather says:
30 June 2017

try changing your bank, and let them know why.

Guest
John Ash says:
21 June 2017

What have you done with the Isle of Wight – it is not on the map!

Profile photo of John Ward
Guest

Perhaps there is an officer of the Hampshire police force on standby to assist in the event of an enquiry.

Guest
Keith Openshaw says:
21 June 2017

Anglesey has taken a turn for the worse as well. I know there will be no-one looking for it. A tax haven maybe?

Profile photo of Lauren Deitz
Guest

Hi John, it’s an issue with the map. The data for the Isle of Wight is included in the Hampshire area – we’re trying to fix this.

Guest
Gaynor Marwood says:
21 June 2017

I receive endless calls of this type every day, invariably I don’t answer them and just leave them to go on my answer machine and delete them at the end of the day, of course they hang up and don’t leave a message. But one thing I do quite frequently is to answer the call and just ask them to hold on a minute whilst I answer my front door (of course there is no one there), put the phone on the table and leave it there and carry on with what I was doing or go out. By the time I decide to pick up the phone they’ve got fed up and hung up. At least whilst they are waiting for me to respond they are leaving other people alone.

Guest
Marion says:
21 June 2017

I don’t know if there are others who have been a victim of buying property. I have fallen victim twice now to buying property. The estate agents have made me offer more money for properties that have had lots wrong with them. There should be a law that all properties should state all defects before you buy. I know I should have had surveys done but was told beforehand that it would be a waste of money. The first property I bought needed a lot doing to it so I forked out for a new kitchen and bathroom then soon after I moved in there was a flood through kitchen ceiling from faulty workmanship in the bathroom and I had to vacate the property. As this distressed me I decided to sell but lost £25,000 on it. I again bought a property that I now live in and was also made to pay more than it was worth. Almost everything in the property was not working and I have spent around £5000 on it so far but it still needs another £15,000 to put everything right. Had I known about all the faults and defects in these properties before I bought I would not have ended up penniless and all my parents inheritance they left has been guzzled up into buying properties that I have overpaid for in the first place. There should be a law brought into place that states all defects of a property before a gullible person like myself comes along and is made to offer more. I was rushed into buying for the 2nd property and if I had known then what I know now would never have bought it and unfortunately for me I have neighbours that have taken a dislike to me. Unfortunately I wont be able to move now as my finances have been guzzled up or stolen in other fraudulent ways.

Guest
Marion says:
21 June 2017

I don’t know if their are others out there who think there should be a law brought in for people buying properties. I have fallen victim twice now to being made to pay more for a property then found out when I had bought it that there was loads of faults and defects and almost everything not working. I have then finished up spending more money and the 1st property I bought I lost £25,000 on it when I resold. The next property I still live in but it needs around £15,000 spending on it to bring it up to date as well as me having to fork out £5,000 already for shower, telephone, tv, electrical upgrade, new boiler and a few other things. There should be a law brought in to let people know what is wrong with a property before they buy rather than waiting for some gullible old person like myself. I was advised that having a survey was a waste of money but looking back now maybe I should have spent that bit extra. I think the property market can be fraudulent as they are the ones making the money out of the buyers. I have lost around £85,000 and still being targeted by fraud in other ways as well.

Guest
Stokkers says:
21 June 2017

I’ve had many calls from people with, usually, an Asian accent, telling me that there is something wrong with my BT hub, but I’ve learnt that if I tell them I am a BT Broadband Technician, they never seem to call back. I also ask them if they sre from BT, as they usually say they are, I ask them for their EID (Engineer ID Number).

Guest
Mary says:
21 June 2017

I’m very suspicious of touch cards. I went to pay for a meal and found that all details had been taken while the card was in my possession. Then I heard from a friends that they had gone to pay for fuel and were told almost as they entered the filling station that their card had been swiped without leaving their handbag!,
I want to return to chip and pin ASAP

Guest
Gavin Bullock says:
22 June 2017

You can prevent your touch card being read accidentally by keeping it is a card holder lined with metal foil of some kind. This puts it in a ‘Faraday’s Cage’ which prevents the transmission of wireless data. These can be bought in sleeves for single cards, on in multiple card holders or wallets.

Guest
Liz says:
22 June 2017

I have been contacted with regard to car accidents too. When asked, I say, “Yes I did but unfortunately it proved fatal and I died!” , or, “Yes I did have an accident, but unfortunately, I was decapitated!” They soon hang up! Try it.

Guest
Angela Thomas says:
22 June 2017

I have been contacted several times by computer stammers telling me I am being hacked. “Oh dear, what can I do?” I say. When told to turn on my computer & type in a code I asked them what my computer looked like (being old & dotty). When told it has a screen, I turned it on then exclaimed “Oh that’s the TV! ” then dithered about till I got bored & told the guy “I don’t have a computer “. He was not happy.

Guest
David Robinson says:
22 June 2017

yes I have been inundated with emails ..they seem to use you.gov as the Trojan horse
wiil send some examples …fortunately my library spam filter stopped some of them

Guest
Ronnie Cullen says:
22 June 2017

I had a several cold calls from someone from ‘Greendale enterprises’ eventually when I asked him how was Postman Pat’s cat Jess, I saw she wasn’t well on the TV he went very quiet so I said ‘Greendale’ where Pat lives and he hung up and never rung again

Guest
marion says:
22 June 2017

I have been the target of fraud and just been told by action fraud that they will not be doing anything about it. No wonder all these criminals carry on with their devious scams they know that they can get away with it. I have given up reporting crimes to myself now. The criminals are left to get away with it or treated leniently so they carry on targeting gullible people like myself who are left to suffer.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Guest

Marion there have been many comments on the elderly being “gullible ” on this website but strange to say a study carried out 1 year ago by Truecaller Which,s favourite call-blocker doesn’t point the finger at them but at the “Millenniums ” -17 % of women and 38 % of men from 18 to 34 had lost money through scams in -2015 , compare that with just 11 % of Americans ( backing up my comments that Americans are brought up in a world of commerce and advertising and are a lot more “street wise ” . Even more convincing security company Norton ( well known ) also found that 44 % of Millenniums had been victims too.Transunion survey showed that they were lax in protecting themselves and gave away too much info on all the social media . It took me by surprise as I always thought ( I know sexist ) that women were more inclined to believe advertising it turns out I was wrong its men that are more easily taken in , but women knew that all along —right ? Personally I think its the advertising industry in every mode that helps increase the gullibility levels . A survey carried out by a US government Social Psychologist website found that people will tell the truth in groups as ,if somebody finds out they are lying they lose face but nearly all scams are remote and the caller hidden so they can lie their heads off .

Guest
Colin says:
22 June 2017

I must have been contacted 50 times over the last 5 years by ‘Microsoft’ telling me my computer was faulty. I usually hang up immediately, but once I asked the guy how it felt sitting there all day telling lies; wasn’t it corrosive to his soul! How could he reconcile doing what he did with any religious beliefs he had. Long silence, then he hung up.

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Guest

Colin it is against the Hindu religion to lie , in the Islamic religion it is permissible to lie for certain reason , including if you are talking to an enemy Quran -2:225- Allah (PBUH ) will not call into account for thoughtlessness in your oaths but for the intention in your hearts–there is more in the Quran . As the majority originate in India a Hindu is committing a graver crime against Brahma- Vishnu and Shiva

Guest
Mark Baker says:
24 June 2017

Okay.Try these out.
For PPI take over the conversation.Ask them if they would like a new car or a nice holiday.
Ask about their credit rating and would they like to borrow 25k from the bank and they give me 20%.After that we never see each other again as the bank chases me for their money as they lend money at risk and we use my address to borrow the money.
They hang up.

Accident claims?
Tell em you were p****d but it was not your fault as the other driver should not have been out late at night.
They stop calling.

Guest
Teresa Baker says:
26 June 2017

Got home from holiday, voice message left supposed to be from HMRC. Letting us know issue with our tax. Need to call a number urgently before there is legal action. This is the fifth call received in many weeks. I rang HMRC, told me it was a scam. Reported to Fraud line. Not long received email from them there is no case to answer. I believe calls threatening legal criteria is a great worry. Glad we received this call before going away, it would have been a shock call to be left as a message. Reporting details to HMRC & Fraud line not stopped these calls.

Guest
Mandy whetzel says:
26 June 2017

Had one of those calls asking if i had had an accident when i said i hadnt got told to go out and have one, told him to eff off and put the phone down. The person rang me back and told me he knew my address and was going to come and do allsorts of sexually perverse things to me so i told him if his male parts were anything below 14 inches he need not bother because anything less just wouldnt do, he ended up putting the phone down on me 😂

Guest
Serenda says:
27 June 2017

I get frequent calls about a “car accident”. If I have the time, I say “oh yes indeed, which accident are you referring to?” and then string them along as I try to recall all those accidents I’ve had. They quickly ring off. For the callers supposedly from Microsoft, I respond positively, ask them to wait while I turn on my pc and then simply walk away from the phone. They too quickly hang up, but their line should show as busy until I choose to hang up from my end – and I’ve been know to leave that for an hour or more. The fake BT callers get similar treatment, although for some reason they seem to have given up calling! The worst ones in my opinion are those suggesting you press 9or some number in order not to be bothered again: I’ve tried that, but it doesn’t stop the calls

Guest
keith says:
28 June 2017

I managed to keep them talking whilst looking up their phone location and their names. I sent location and details to the police and GUESS WHAT >>>>>NOTHING NOT EVEN A RESPONCE. DO YOU THINK THEY CARE????

Guest
Pat says:
28 June 2017

It would be good if Which could hold local councils in Essex to account re their behaviours. Nobody else does. Local press in Essex certainly doesn’t. We all suffer as a result.

Guest
John Willerton says:
4 July 2017

The three most important actions with all cold callers is to register with the Telephone Preference Service, get enough information to complain about them and not engage in any sort of conversation with them. Also follow up with a complaint. Even asking for the name of the company they represent, a valid telephone number and a uk address causes most of them to hang up. Also don’t forget they know a lot more about you than you do about them so it is extremely unwise to ‘play games’ with them
The TPS should take information about scams and pass it on. At the moment they don’t, even if the scam involves them!

Guest
jacqueline wilson says:
7 July 2017

I was phoned on 6/7/17 by a female recorded voice telling me it was H.M.S. customs and that there was a lawsuit aganst me with a court appearance the following week. I hung up but an elderly friend phoned later in a distressed state to say he had received the same call and had given them his insurance number

Guest
Howard Morgan says:
18 September 2017

I’m a Powys resident and have used the Telephone Preference Service since it started – it is useless.
I use a BT call blocker phone and find this very effective – earlier this year I switched it off for a few days, because my son went missing and the police were in regular touch as the search developed. Because the police use mobile phones I couldn’t add them to the allowed list. On the first day I had a silent call, same on the second, and third days several rubbish calls about PPI, repeated on the fourth day.

I warned the police they would have to get through the challenge, and switched the blocker back on. I had had a similar experience when my wife was in hospital a couple of years back. It is obvious thet these scammers have a search program that looks for unprotected numbers. Why are so many of these calls made by people with Indian sub-continent accents?

Now, I rely on the call blocker to block all international and number witheld calls and get no more trouble. I have recently however been getting emails demanding to know why I have not claimed PPI yet, but my spam filter seems to get all of these.

If you do not have a spam filter for emails, or a call blocker, there are some fascinating methods to protect yourself in this debate.

I remember answering the door to 2 Irish accented gentlemen who had some tarmac left over from a job and offered to resurface my drive. Just who has tarmac “left over” at 7.30am ? All of these scams can be best dealt with by putting the phone down, with the option of being rude if you are moved that way, otherwise you can play the Jehovas’ Witness response ” Have you heard the good news? Jesus died to save you….”

Guest
Richard says:
18 September 2017

Nothing about ransom demands, this happened to me.

Guest
Robin Watts says:
18 September 2017

Government, stop unwanted telephone calls cold calling with scams from the sub-continent, get a grip on it now !! No I do not have Nutter Broadband and I certainly wont let you on my computer

Councils stop cold callers touring the housing estates, I’ve had some as late as 8.30pm banging on my door, they never ring the bell! and in some cases I’ve never understood what they were flogging

Guest
Barry Allen says:
18 September 2017

Every Monday morning its “Asian Microsoft Maid” time in our house and this week gave them TPS number telling them Bob had real security problems with his computer and needed their help urgently. Wonder if action will follow if suggest MP/BT chiefs/police/Newspapers – worth a try perhaps

Guest
DANIEL says:
18 September 2017

Fake £20 notes are being passed by an African crew in the Manchester area.
The method used is to buy a small cost item and profer a £20 note for the transaction. Beware shopkeepers.

Guest
bishbut says:
19 September 2017

Question Which organisations government departments still use Withheld numbers I know many still do Have the police given up using them I know the once did I do not answer withheld numbers but how do I call back if I wanted to because I missed a call They do not want nuisance calls BUT??

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Guest

You know Bishbut you ask some strategic questions that get right to the point . It has been decided by the government that in the interests of “security ” of this country that you are given a general number to call that that does not localise the call you make so that you might know personally where a police station , a government dept , or even a big business is but you are provided with an arbitrary number that calls a central call reception area who then using computers relay it on . As you know there are now many ways to redirect and disguise or change the perceived location of a business or an authority and this is used extensively in the general market place . That is why they will not force the telephone companies to make all calls reconisable as to location/area etc but it is used also in the interests of globalisation so that you think -British company when its probably American in location . While this affects the general public as you know it means little to hackers / and DDoS attackers who have no problem locating where to call direct . There are also internal numbers that companies/police/military can use to call direct but you never get them . Recently my local Morrison’s went “global ” in that the local number was made NU ( taken out of service ) and you had a general number that called a central location who then called the local store. I have two self-proven incidents of one bus company and one lawyers office using -out of area /withheld / “International ” numbers BOTH were located in the UK and ended up being forced to admit it to me.

Guest
Christopher Nash says:
19 September 2017

Has Which looked into car parking scams?