In March Which? launched a tool to help the public make us aware of different types of scams. Here’s some of the key data recorded so far.
Which? has been stepping up efforts to raise awareness of the issue of scams and fraud across the UK, including our week of awareness here on Which? Conversation.
In that time we’ve been issuing new alerts, calling for government action and providing advice across all our channels:
Coronavirus scams are on the rise 📈 We reveal the scams you should watch out for.
In the past year £1.7bn was lost to fraud in the UK. That's more than £4.6m every day.
— Which? (@WhichUK) March 25, 2021
We also launched our Scams Sharer Tool – an easier way for people to make Which? aware of the latest scams the public are being targeted by.
What has the data shown so far?
Of all the scams that we’ve been made aware of via the tool so far, cold calls are the most prevalent, accounting for 36% of the total.
This doesn’t come as a huge surprise due to the huge numbers of reports we’ve seen over the last few years of cold calls encouraging their targets to ‘press 1’ to be connected, such as the fake Amazon Prime ‘renewal’ call we warned about in 2019.
It’s also clear from the data that SMS text message scams are on the rise. We’ve seen numerous reports of very similar texts being sent to people en masse. I can attest to this myself – I’ve had six over the last two weeks.
I’m getting scam texts or calls every day. Today it is fraudsters impersonating Hermes & Royal Mail. It’s hard to know what’s real & what’s fake right now. I’m looking for people who’ve been targeted by scammers to speak to me for a @BBCNews piece. Get in touch, my DMs are open. pic.twitter.com/FsvhDtX32M
— Sarah Corker (@SarahCorkerNews) May 4, 2021
Which brands are being impersonated the most?
In the graphic below, the larger text corresponds to the number of reports made via the tool.
You’ll notice that a lot of the brands mentioned here have also featured in our scam alert warnings over the last few months, most notably Royal Mail, which is being impersonated in a slick cloned website scam that starts with an SMS.
Royal Mail previously told us:
“We work with UK law enforcement agencies, Trading Standards and other organisations to share information and support robust proactive action against scams. Customers looking for advice on how to spot a fake notification should visit www.royalmail.com/scamprotection. Here they can view examples of current scams, and get advice on appropriate action”
All of these popular, well-known brands are being spoofed by criminals in order to extract sensitive information from their victims. We’ll continue to make people aware of fraudulent communications, which have nothing to do with these companies, in our alerts.
If you’ve received an SMS, email, cold call or any other type of communication and you’re not sure if it’s genuine, take a moment to verify it through the brand’s official channels.
Which scam insights are you interested in?
We’re interested to know whether you think the information we’ve had reported to us so far matches your own experiences of receiving scams.
Through the Scams Sharer tool Which? also gathers data on other aspects of fraud, such as which ages and genders are affected, which locations are being targeted and more. We’re keen to hear about the information you’d be interested in seeing from Which?: are there certain areas you’d like us to report back on?
Let us know in the comments below, and please do continue to help our research by using the tool and warning friends and family.