One in four of us, equivalent to 13 million people, say they have been the victim of a scam, according to new research from Santander UK, while almost three quarters said they were concerned about falling victim to a scam.
With the latest figures showing losses of almost £11 billion to the UK economy as a result of fraud, the survey also revealed the nation’s relaxed attitudes towards personal security, with one in eight admitting they would reply to an email from somebody they didn’t know, and four per cent confirming they were comfortable giving personal, security or banking details to a stranger.
The survey findings also reveal that over 4.6 million adults believe their bank would ask for their full PIN, password or other private security details. One in 14 also believe their bank would ask them to transfer money out of their account for security reasons, or ask for remote access to their computer (six per cent).
In sharp contrast with the general perception, young people do not appear as security savvy as older generations. One in five 18-34 year olds believe their bank would ask for their full PIN – double the figure for the nation as a whole.
Karen Tyler, Head of Fraud at Santander, said: “Scams can come in many forms and our research highlights how widespread they are. It’s worrying that so many people are unaware of what information a bank will and will not ask for – a bank would never ask you to disclose your full security details, for example.
“Falling victim to a scam can be devastating and it’s therefore so important that people make sure they’re aware of the different types of scams and keep their personal information safe. We have leaflets in our branches, information on our website, and staff available in our branches to help.”
Santander has launched its annual initiative to raise awareness of some of the most common scams, such as telephone scams, requests to withdraw cash, remote access scams and payment redirection scams. New leaflets are available in branch, staff are being given additional training to help customers and a new scam awareness workshop has been produced with Age UK for staff to go out into their local communities to help educate the public.
Paul Wilson, scam expert and presenter of the BBC TV show The Real Hustle, commented: “Every year thousands of people are targeted by scams, and the number is increasing. Fraudsters operate by gathering pieces of information one bit at a time. By understanding how scammers operate and being vigilant, we can protect ourselves from becoming victims. And remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”