Weekly Poll – Scams Awareness (Week Beginning 20 June 2022)

Each week Disability Equality Scotland send out a poll question to our members on a topical issue. For the week beginning 20 June 2022, we asked a question about scams awareness.

Please note that this is a snapshot of the views of our membership and does not reflect a policy stance of Disability Equality Scotland. If you plan to reference the findings featured in this report, please contact us in advance so that we are aware of this.

Results

Question. Have you been targeted by scammers in the last twelve months?

  • Yes 86% (59 respondents)
  • No 14% (10 respondents)

Comments

We provide verbatim comments where appropriate to illustrate strength of feeling or personal experience.

Examples of Scams

Monday 13 June marked the beginning of scams awareness fortnight. New research by Citizens Advice has found that more than three quarters of UK adults have been targeted by a scammer this year – a 14% increase compared to this time last year. The results from the poll reveal a similar trend, with 86% (59 respondents) stating that they have been targeted in the last twelve months.

The most common types of scams reported by respondents included, banking, deliveries, insurance, online shopping, health or medical, and energy.

“Royal Mail mobile number asking for money because a parcel wasn’t delivered and had to go back to the depot. I ignored it but some people might get caught.”

“I’ve had phone calls claiming to be from Amazon saying that I had suspicious activity for a mobile phone. I was at my laptop, so I was checking my account as the scammer was on the phone. He was trying to get me to enter a code which I assume would have given him access. The text they sent me while I was on the phone looked like it had come from Amazon. When he realised I wasn’t buying into it, he hung up.”

“I have had several people calling me to change insurance policies claiming they are updating it, but I can’t cancel the old policies. I have also had people on claiming I have won lots of money, but they need a delivery fee and customs fees.”

“Car insurance (accident claim), problems with my computer (Microsoft support), bank fraud and parcel delivery are just some of the ones in the past six months.”

“Scam calls and texts received are concerning: Fake NHS Covid contact texts, calls re my Amazon account (frequent), Royal Mail deliveries, bank.”

“I had someone purporting to be from the NHS Fraud Department, informing me that I had claimed medical treatment that I was not entitled to claim for free as it was beyond the remit of the NHS. They were unable to tell me what treatment that I had received, claiming that it was due to GDPR. They stated that I needed to pay £600 otherwise the matter would be turned over to the courts with expected costs to be in the region of £2000 so it was in my own interests to repay the £600 today whilst on the telephone. I told them I was happy for them to take me to court.”

Frequency

Respondents reported of being targeted by scammers on a weekly basis through different channels including phone, text, and email.

“I get phone calls to both my landline and mobile about 6 times every week. It’s always someone saying they’re from Amazon or some telecommunications firm and they’re phoning to speak to me about my account. 9 times out of 10, I don’t even have an account with the company they say they’re from.”

“It is a weekly if not daily occurrence to get either a spam call or text message. Thankfully android seems to catch most of the spam texts.”

“Typical stuff has been going around for years. Used to be once or twice a month then 18 months or so ago it escalated to 2 to 3 times a week, usually around 10:00 and very predictable.”

“It’s a near daily occurrence by email, if it is not a fake courier service, it is somebody from BT. Phone is nearly as bad with dubious Microsoft agents making ridiculous claims over the phone. It is time service providers and governments did more to stop these seriously criminal individuals and gangs from playing the modern highwayman!”

“I have about 4 or 5 emails and about 2 or 3 texts a week from scammers. I actually had one this morning and I never have fallen for any of them, but today I nearly did. Scammers are getting more experienced at doing them, especially as most of the public are aware of the most common ones. I feel angry that they are still getting away with scams, even though the authorities in all sectors know who they are, but don’t have the power to stop them. I also feel that some people, despite all the advertising and contacts from their banks and a lot of different places telling you about the latest scams, and knowing that no matter what, you never click on an email link, some people are still ignoring the advice.”

Advice

Respondents shared what actions they take when being targeted by scammers. For details on how to recognise and report scams, visit the Citizens Advice website.

“A scammer wins if you let them. They are only as good as how gullible you are to them. What I tell family and friends is, stop, check, recheck with someone you trust, but never click or agree to anything, even if they say you have won money and they want the postage, tell them to take it off the winnings. They will then give up. The plain fact is no one is safe, and everyone is suspicious to you unless proved otherwise.”

“Plenty of phone calls of all shapes and sizes and I hear my husband say in a loud voice ‘go away’ and put the phone down and so I know that someone has tried to scam us again.”

“I do try to be careful. I also get a free weekly scam alert via WHICH newsletters.”

“I treat everything with suspicion now unless I request something. I Google all companies to see if there are any scam reports.”

“I resorted to changing my phone number with aid of provider, installation of provider blocking services which monitor, and block known numbers before the phone even rings, options to manually block the occasional number which slips through, international and premium rate numbers blocked and ex-directory. Can’t do much more short of unplugging phone. Receive very few dodgy calls now.”

“I would advise people to read emails texts etc twice and to think about things e.g., payment for a parcel being redirected? What have you ordered and why does it need redirected if you normally get sent things to your home address. It is also worth checking the email address given e.g., National UK Health rather than NHS. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to stop these emails as they are often sent from outside the country.”

“I tend to add the dodgy numbers onto the “Who Called Me?” website and report to Action Fraud.”

“If I may, I would like to have this link sent out to all your members. It provides free Scam Awareness Training to anyone in the UK, and whilst it is an English Trading Standards agency that has designed and delivered the course – 99% of it is for all of the UK. I have attended and became a Scam Awareness Champion for this organisation – https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk

Conclusion

The majority of respondents (86%) reported of being targeted by scammers in the last 12 months. Examples were shared of scams covering banking, deliveries, insurance, online shopping, health or medical, and energy. Respondents stated that they are targeted on a weekly basis across different channels, such as phone, text and email. Comments were shared on how respondents deal with the scams. For details on how to recognise and report scams, visit the Citizens Advice website.