From the good old Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in the UK this time.
No ‘TOTP’ type chart rundown this time with information that everyone knows (or ought to know) already – this is a report based in real information.
The report that says that UK consumers are losing Â£3.5 billion (presumably 3 thousand, five hundred million, rather than the old British definition) to scams each year.
These are the areas they looked at:
1. prize draw/sweepstake scams
2. foreign lottery scams
3. work at home and business opportunity scams
4. premium rate telephone prize scams
5. miracle health and slimming cure scams
6. African advance fee frauds/foreign money making scams
7. clairvoyant/psychic mailing scams
8. property investor scams
9. pyramid selling and chain letter scams
10. bogus holiday club scams
11. Internet dialer scams
12. career opportunity (model/author/inventor) scams
13. high risk investment scams
14. Internet matrix scheme scams
15. loan scams
They claim this is the first detailed analysis of the financial impact and harm caused by such scams. The survey involved over 11,200 interviews and found that each year 1 in 15 people in the UK are a victim of scams. The avergage loss per scam was Â£850 ($1600).
The research suggests that consumers lose around Â£1.2 billion every year to bogus holiday clubs, Â£490 million to high risk investment scams, Â£420 million to pyramid and get-rich-quick schemes, and Â£260 million to fake foreign lotteries. On average a victim has a 30 per cent chance of falling for another scam within 12 months of first being caught out, most likely because their personal details are added to a so-called ‘suckers list’, which are then sold on to other scammers.
Whilst older consumers were more likely to be targeted by a scam, the highest percentage of victims were aged between 35-44 years. Of those who fell for the scams, 32 per cent said it was because of the legitimate and professional appearance of the marketing, 30 per cent said they were caught off guard, and 13 per cent because of the excitement at the prospect of getting a good deal or winning a prize.
In addition, the research showed that less than five per cent of those scammed reported their experience to the authorities, and more than half of victims have since changed their shopping behaviour, for example by becoming less likely to respond to any unsolicited offers or shop on the internet.
Nearly all scams operate on the basis of offering consumers something for nothing, such as a major win in a lottery or prize draw (even though you have never entered), an exclusive entry to a scheme, or a way to earn easy money. They will ask for consumers to send money up front. The OFT advice to consumers is: stop, think and be sceptical.