Scam victims lost €15.6 million in 2020

0
627
Galway Daily news Scam victims lost €15.6 million in 2020

The amount of money lost by scam victims last year went up by more than half last year, with a huge jump in the number of people targeted.

A report by FraudSMART found that there was an 80% jump in the number of fraudulent scams in 2020, with the average victim losing €5,300.

In total there was €15.6 million lost to fraudulent scams last year, 51% higher than in 2019. This came from a range of impersonation scams, romance scams and investment scams targeting vulnerable people.

Impersonation scams in particular have been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 68% of people reporting being targeted by one in the year up to July 2021. Among 18-24 year olds, this rises to 84% being the target of at least one impersonation scam.

These scams occur when the fraudster pretends to be from a legitimate organisation or business to get sensitive information or money from the victim.

When asked who the fraudster was pretending to be, more than half (56%) said a government department or agency, including the Revenue Commissioners or Gardaí.

Just over a third said that scammer pretended to be from the bank, and one in five people were hit with a scam delivery company message.

Phone calls have been the most common source of this fraud (72%), with 37% of people saying they were contact by email, and 32% receiving scam text messages.

Brian Hayes, Chief Executive of Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) said” “Fraudsters continuously update and adapt their tactics and tools.”

“They can quickly identify and exploit scam opportunities presented by evolving consumer and business behaviour as well as the ever-changing economic and social environment.”

“Banks use a range of measures such as encryption and continuous fraud monitoring to protect their customers and ensure every day payments can be made securely but it is important for everyone to protect themselves from fraud by being vigilant.”

Encouragingly, blanketing people with scam calls and texts this year seems to have backfired somewhat, leading to fewer people being taken in by the increasingly endless pestering.

The bulk of people, some 70%, say that they do nothing when contacted by scammers trying to threaten or frighten them into giving over money or personal information.

Just 6% of people reported clicking on a link in an email, some 3% gave over their personal or account details, and only 2% gave out bank or credit card details.

For further information and a host of fraud advice consumers and business can check out www.fraudsmart.ie.