While the pandemic has ruined many livelihoods, it has provided a boom for criminals
A retired teacher who lost £ 120,000 due to a Instagram a scam told ITV News it was left behind claiming Universal Credit as a result of the loss.
Teresa Jackson, 63, of Portishead, is one of 36 million adults who have been targeted by con artists since January, according to Citizens Advice.Ms Jackson, a retired teacher, signed up for the bogus investment program after responding to a social media ad. The post claimed that adventurer and presenter Bear Grylls got rich by investing in Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency.
After expressing her interest, Ms Jackson received a call from a man posing as a financial advisor.
Ms Jackson explains exactly how much the £ 120,000 she lost was to her
“He knew everything there was to know about Bitcoin and investments. I used to go and check everything he said – everything felt genuine, ”she explained.
By the time she realized the plan was not, in fact, genuine, Ms Jackson had lost £ 120,000 – her pension and her savings.
She said: “I felt embarrassed and stupid… my family trusted me to know what I was doing”.
Fortunately, Mrs. Jackson’s bank reimbursed him half of the money when she reported the scam to them.
They said they weren’t able to give her the full amount because she made the decision to transfer the money herself.
“I’m on Universal Credit now, it’s that easy,” she said.
Ms Jackson admitted she was comfortable, but said she could no longer live the life she previously led.
Citizens Advice said more than two-thirds (68%) of people believe they have been targeted by scammers this year so far.While those over 55, like Ms. Jackson, are the most likely to be targeted, those 34 and under are almost five times more likely to be scammed than their older counterparts, found association.Younger people were the most likely to be targeted by a text or messaging service (61%), while those over 55 were more likely to be targeted by phone (73%).The bulk (54%) of fraudulent contacts involved bogus deliveries or packages, but in 41% of cases someone pretended to be government owned and 12% of attempted scams involved someone offering a bogus investment or program ” get rich quick ”.
Citizens Advice said the number of scam reports has risen sharply.
Comparing the first five months of 2021 with the same period in 2020, there has been a 123% increase in reports of scams made to the charity.In one case seen by Citizens Advice, an elderly man sent £ 240,000 to an account he believed belonged to his bank.
Ms Jackson explains how the scammer convinced her to give up her money
In another, a young woman got in touch when she lost £ 2,000 to a fake cryptocurrency company after receiving a message from a friend’s hacked social media account.And in another case, a Suffolk woman lost £ 750 which she sent to a fake dog breeder.Citizens Advice and the Consumer Protection Partnership have launched their annual scam awareness campaign.Dame Clare Moriarty, CEO of Citizens Advice, said: “Our research shows that when it comes to scams, anyone can be targeted and anyone can be cheated.“It’s more important than ever that we all do our part to report scams when we see them to help us protect ourselves and others. By learning how scammers work and helping each other understand what to look for, we can all work together to stop scammers on their trail. ”Louise Baxter, National Trade Standards Scam Team Leader, said: “Just being targeted by scams has been shown to harm people’s well-being.“We urge people to protect themselves and their loved ones from scams by taking our free Friends Against Scams awareness training at www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk. “Opinium surveyed over 2,000 people across the UK, of which 68% said they had been contacted by someone they said was trying to scam them.