Legal charity Citizens Advice is advising Britons to remain vigilant as scammers are trying to target more people during Covid-19 lockdown.
Last week, the charity disclosed the findings of a new survey, showing that nearly one-third Britons have been contacted by scammers since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Citizens Advice says it has seen a 19 per cent spike in the number of visitors coming to its website in recent months looking for advice from experts. There is also an increase in the number of people who are calling the charity to report about fake claims from scammers about vaccinations, testing kits and government refunds.
Citizen Advice spoke to 2,009 adults in the survey. Nearly 40 per cent respondents living in Braintree, Halstead and Witham said they have been targeted by a scam since the start of lockdown.
Fifty four per cent of people who are currently facing loss of income due to coronavirus outbreak said that they have also been confronted with a scam in recent days.
The survey also showed that certain groups are at a higher risk of being targeted by a scammer. Of those with a long term illness or disability, 45 per cent reported being targeted by scammers, while nearly 50 per cent of those at an increased risk of COVID-19 said they had been contacted.
One person told the charity that one of his friends came across a company on social media which claimed to offer a product capable of protecting homes from coronavirus.
Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents also stated that they were worried that someone they know would fall foul of a scam.
Citizens Advice advises people to remain alert of potential scams and to take care of vulnerable people who may be targeted by scammers. This week it launched an awareness campaign on the topic.
"Tried-and-tested scams still pose a huge threat. Even in this digital age where online scams are on the rise, scammers are continuing to use traditional routes to prey on people," Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said.
"Tactics like doorstep selling, sending unsolicited letters and cold calling give scammers the opportunity to build a relationship with their victim. Unfortunately, it's usually more vulnerable and isolated people who are affected. "
"The gap between the number of people recognising they've been targeted and those actually speaking up it about shows the importance of this Scams Awareness campaign. We must work together to combat fraudsters by being more open about scams and helping each other understand what to look for."
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