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According to a study from NatWest1, seven in 10 people have been targeted by scams over the last 12 months. Vulnerabilities brought on by cost-of-living challenges have likely contributed to the high numbers. 

Sadly, 13% of people have fallen prey to such scams, which are growing in both number and sophistication - targeting young and old – no one is immune. 

Avoid, avoid, avoid 

To avoid a scam, you’ve first got to know what you’re looking for. So, here’s a list of the most common scams used over the past year and the proportion of people who were targeted: 

  1. Phishing scams (37%) 

Fake emails or calls from organisations purporting to be from legitimate companies, asking you to provide personal or private data. 

  1. Trusted organisation scams (21%)  

Criminals contact their victims pretending to be trusted organisations such as HMRC, the police or their bank, saying there’s something wrong with their account, they need to pay a fine, or similar. 

  1. Refund scams (13%) 

Similar to the above, but the criminals instead use a potential refund or rebate to tempt victims into sharing personal or banking information. 

Other scams include messages purporting to be from friends/family asking for money (12%), get rich quick scams (12%) and purchase scams (9%). 

Keep yourself (and your money) safe  

Staying vigilant and keeping your guard up around unsolicited calls and messages is key to protecting yourself from scams. Remember: 

• If something seems too good to be true, it probably is 

• Your bank will never ask you to disclose your full PIN or password 

• Don’t respond to unsolicited calls, emails or texts, or open links if you feel suspicious 

• We’re always here to help if you’re ever unsure about something. 

Always be alert to the risk of fraud – double check any details to ensure people or organisations are who you think they are. 

Stay vigilant, protect yourself – knowledge is power. 

1NatWest, 2023