Five biggest scams of 2021   

Regular readers of our blog will know that fraud is a common theme and we’re revisiting the topic to explore the five biggest scams of 2021.

Consumer champions Which? received 11,881 scam reports between March 1 and November 1 last year with impersonation scams accounting for 69% of reports.

Here’s the foul five in full…

‘There’s a problem with your Amazon account’

This scam targets victims through phone calls using a recorded message that prompts you to call back to fix an issue with your account. Sometimes a real person may be calling from a call centre. They may threaten to close your account if you don’t act quickly – which usually means handing over your payment details. You can usually spot these phishing attempts by checking to see if the email is not addressed to you personally, or the invoice is in a foreign currency.

‘Your National Insurance number has been compromised’

In November, Ofcom reported that 45 million people in the UK received a scam call in the last year. One phone scam that peaked last year is a recorded voice message claiming to be from the National Crime Agency, which doesn’t communicate with members of the public.

‘You’ve missed a delivery’

The most common text message scams last year were warnings about missed deliveries or outstanding delivery charges. Other text scams include fake texts from banks. The message is often an alert that a new payee has been set up or an unknown transfer has taken place, which asks the recipient into clicking through on the link to check the details. The link takes them to a cloned bank website which will likely ask for login details, PIN, and other personal information. The best advice is to avoid clicking on links in texts.

Online ads and social media scams

There’s a high chance you’ve been targeted by at least one of these scams in 2021. Action Fraud data shows that the most reported scams were those linked to online shopping and auction sites. It’s likely that phone scams have become such a common annoyance that people have simply given up reporting them.

‘Apply for your Covid passport now’

Many scams requested bank details or payment in order to book a test or a jab when these services were free. As venues reopened and travel restrictions loosened in the summer months, phishing requests for payments for Covid passports began to circulate. The key thing to remember is that Covid services are free on the NHS to British citizens and those residing in the UK.

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