Which? Notes One-Third Increase in Scams with At-Home Work

Per recent data published by Which?, online and phone scams are up by approximately 33 percent since the global onset of COVID-19 forced more employees to work and generally spend more time at home.

The website noted that it logged 413,553 reports (April 2020 – March 2021) to Action Fraud, the fraud and cybercrime reporting center for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Additionally, over GBP 2.3 billion (US $3.15 billion) was lost by the at-home victims of this fraud.

Top fraud threats included online shopping and auction (up 65 percent Y2Y), with other areas including advance fee, retail/consumer, check/card/online banking, investment, computer fixing, dating, phone, mandate, door-to-door, fake loan, ticket and fraud recovery.

Which? also noted an 83 percent year-over-year increase in instances of phone fraud, which includes both scam calls and SMS messages.

In terms of victims, those “over-60s” are considered “more vulnerable” as tech literacy is less prevalent, with those 20-39 accounting for 43 percent of submitted fraud reports.

Recommendations include:

  • Not sharing personal info prior to confirming recipient.
  • Distrusting Caller ID credentials.
  • Scanning for poor grammar or spelling.
  • Verifying sender email addresses.
  • Generally deciding to “take your time” prior to sharing information.