It's been a record year for scams, warns Barclays

  • Research from Barclays shows that 2020 was a record year for scams, with a 66% increase in fraud in the second half of 2020.

    Barclays has partnered with Countdown star Susie Dent to help raise awareness of the rapid rise in scams targeting consumers in 2020. The value of fraudulent activity jumped by over 66% during the second half of 2020 from July to December, with fraudsters increasingly pulling high-value scams.

    Scammers used the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic to help convince victims to hand over their cash. Attackers can pretends to be someone you know such as your boss or a colleague, taking advantage of the fact that people are working from home and may not have secure lines of work communication.

    RELATED: Scammers are using coronavirus fears to access your data

    Over 29% of scams reported were impersonation scams in which someone is convinced that their bank account is at risk and money must be moved to another account for security. These types of scams ovten target the elderly who may not understand how modern online banking works, many of whom are isolated right now due to the pandemic.

    Another 29% of the highest value claims came from investment scams involving fake investment websites, taking advantage of how some people have extra money that they can't spend on things like holidays and may want to invest it. The fake websites often look identical to the real thing, so regular investors can be tricked if they don't notice the difference.

    Data from a recent poll showed that 54% of those scammed are too embarassed to report the crime, a fact that the scammers often rely on to continue cheating others. Barclays has now partnered with Countdown's Susie Dent to help encourage victims come forward when they're the victim of a scam. They've published advice at for anyone who needs it.

    RELATED: Northern Irish scam-buster shuts down Indian scam call centre

    Susie Dent commented: "There are plenty of things that people could find embarrassing. Being mocked by some of our top comedians on national television could be one of them, or publishing a book full of spelling errors could be another, but being a victim of fraud and scams shouldn’t be. Through talking about our experiences, we can work to remove the harmful stigma and embarrassment that comes from being duped."

    Jim Winters, Head of Fraud at Barclays commented: "There are actionable steps you can take to help protect yourself against being scammed. If you’re suspicious, talk to someone you trust. Don’t be afraid to admit to being duped into a scam. When you receive a suspicious email, phone call or text message, never assume it’s who you think. And most importantly, don’t ignore your concerns. If ever in doubt, speak out."

    Source: Written based on press release


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