Research from Citizens Advice Luton shows 80% of people in the South East have been targeted by a scammer so far this year.
The top five most common types of scams reported included:
>Deliveries, portal and courier scams (58%)
>Government or HMRC scams (38%)
>Investment or financial (29%)
>Rebates and refunds (26%)
Citizens Advice and the Consumer Protection Partnership have launched their annual Scams Awareness campaign.
Stephanie Simeon, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Luton, said: “A shocking number of people in the South East have been targeted by a scammer so far this year.
“We know scammers prey on our worries and fears, sadly the cost-of-living crisis is no exception.
“Anyone can be targeted by a scam, and as the purse strings are tightened and financial pressures pile on, it’s important we work together to protect ourselves and each other.”
To stop more people from falling victim, Citizens Advice Luton is sharing five top tips to help guard against a potential scam:
>It seems too good to be true – for example, scammers pretending to be energy companies to lure people into “too good to be true” deals
>You suspect you’re not dealing with a real company or a genuine person – take a moment to step back and double-check
>You’ve been pressured to transfer money quickly
>You’ve been asked to pay in an unusual way – like by an iTunes vouchers or a transfer service
>You’ve been asked to give away personal information such as passwords, PINs or other verification codes.
If you’ve been scammed, Citizens Advice Luton advises:
Talk to your bank or card company immediately if you’ve handed over any financial and sensitive information or made a payment
Report the scam to Citizens Advice. Offline scams, like those using the telephone, post and coming to your door, can be reported to the Citizens Advice website or by calling 0808 223 1133. Report online scams to the dedicated Scams Action service online or on 0808 250 5050
Text scams can be reported to your mobile phone provider by forwarding it to 7726
Also report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
For information on the types of help available visit the Citizens Advice website.