It’s been revealed more than £2.3bn has been lost in a year as scams surge during the pandemic.
Over 413,000 instances of fraud were reported in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the year up to April 2021 – an increase of 33 percent on the previous 12 months.
Scammers are becoming more sophisticated and clever with their methods, using well-known brands and companies to lure unaware consumers into believing their tricks. But what scams were the UK public most concerned about?
To find out, gadget insurance company Protect Your Bubble analysed just how many of us are googling inquiries related to text scams*.
Of the most-asked fraud-related terms, ‘royal mail scam text’ took the number one spot as the most searched by 14,800 consumers in the UK every month.
Fuelled by a rise in online shopping during the pandemic – with 75 percent of consumers admitting they’re shopping more online than ever before – Google search data hints at a 2983 percent increase in Royal Mail text scams since 2020.
With cybercriminals keen to exploit Royal Mail’s popularity, the text scams are designed to look like the official correspondence from the company and the aim is to trick as many users as possible into disclosing sensitive information.
It’s been reported many people have fallen victim to these scams, only recently a woman lost almost £8000 after believing a fraudulent text pretending to be from the Royal Mail.
In second place is ‘Paypal scam text’, searched by an average of 5,400 people each month. With almost three million active users, it’s no surprise cybercriminals are taking advantage of the brands familiarity.
To compare, before the pandemic hit, in 2019 the term ‘Paypal scam text’ was searched 1900 times on average. A staggering 184 percent increase, indicating how worried consumers are about safeguarding their finances during the current climate.
Looking at the remaining search terms related to text scams, this is how many people are checking for different scams each month:
- Hermes scam text: 5,400 searches per month
- DPD scam text: 590 searches per month
- Phishing scam text: 390 searches per month
- Tax rebate scam text: 260 searches per month
- Bank scam text: 110 searches per month
- Covid scam text: 108 searches per month
Although the type of scam may vary, it’s easier to spot a scam if you know what to look for. Remember to be careful if someone:
- You don’t know contacts you out of the blue (unexpected calls, emails, or messages should raise suspicion)
- Offers you something too good to be true – most of the time it is
- Asks for personal details or passwords
- Is pressuring you to make a decision quickly
- Check for spelling and grammar mistakes
- If the contact details are vague
If you suspect you’ve received a scam email, message, or call, ensure you report it to both the business and to Action Fraud to prevent this from happening to someone else.
James Brown, Director at Protect your Bubble commented:
“With an increase in fraudulent text messages, it’s essential the public remain aware and vigilant when receiving them from well-known companies.
“It’s also important companies are following and advising customers on the correct behaviours to adopt when it comes to fraudulent activity.
“At Protect Your Bubble, we never engage in cold-calling to conduct sales activity.”