A third of adults (36%) have been the target of a scam since the Covid19 crisis, research by Citizens Advice Cymru reveals.
Polling conducted on behalf of the charity also showed that certain groups were at an increased risk of being contacted by a scammer, often those who could least afford it:
- Of those with a disability or long-term illness, 45% said they had been targeted
- Half (50%) of those at an increased risk of coronavirus or shielding had been contacted
- Over half (54%) of those who have lost personal income due to the virus have also been contacted.
The charity has seen calls from members of the public concerned about bogus testing kits, vaccinations and government refunds. It’s reported a 19% rise in people coming to its website for scam advice. Citizens Advice web pages relating to scams saw an average of 49,000 page views a month since lockdown began in March, compared to an average of 41,000 page views in the three months prior.
From this research, the majority of people (64%) say they are worried someone they know will fall foul of a con. And most people (90%) reported they felt wary of scammers taking advantage of the situation.
Chris Elmore MP said:
“Christmas is usually a time for celebration. However, for some, scams can really ruin the festive season.
“This is why I’ve teamed up with Citizens Advice Cymru to encourage people not only to be vigilant about scams but, if they do come into contact with them, to report it and to warn others.
“If you’re unsure about a potential scam, always check.”
Rebecca Woolley, Director of Citizens Advice Cymru said:
“‘Stop, report, talk: Be #scamaware’ is our message to consumers this Christmas period.
“This year protecting people against scams is more important than ever. The coronavirus crisis means more people are facing issues - from employment and debt, to housing and health - resulting in more people being in vulnerable situations. Added to this, the overall heightened uncertainty and anxiety caused by the pandemic is making everyone more vulnerable and more likely to fall victim to a scam.
“People can sometimes feel foolish or embarrassed reporting their experiences, but sadly this means perpetrators are getting away scot-free.”
“In reality, all of us can have the bad luck of being targeted with a scam. We hope this Scams Awareness campaign will encourage people to share their stories and learn tips to stop scammers from running off with people’s money.”
If you’re worried that you or someone you know has become victim to a scam, you can contact Citizens Advice’s consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 (Welsh language).