£14m lost to COVID-19 related fraud

More than £14m has been lost to COVID-19 related scams up to 31 July, according to Action Fraud figures that were analysed by TSB.

The bank has also highlighted the most common and emerging scams that its youngest and older customers have fallen victim to, as it revealed average losses.

While criminals target bank customers of all ages, the analysis suggested they often focus on those more vulnerable to fraud, such as the elderly and the young.

TSB’s research showed that younger generations have been particularly affected by investment fraud – such as investing student loans or inheritances into high risk offers, such as cryptocurrency, which turn out to be fraudulent. Those aged between 16 and 21 have lost an average £1,100 per scam.

Since lockdown and the change in economic conditions, TSB has also reported a spike in cases of employment scams and purchase scams for young people.

The bank's analysis also showed average losses for over-65s have reached £7,500 for ‘green deal’ scams, where people are duped by the promise of energy efficient equipment.

In the over-65s bracket, pension and investment fraud has also seen a rise in cases. Losses for this age group for this type of scam average £1,200, the bank revealed.

Since its introduction in April 2019, TSB’s Fraud Refund Guarantee has reimbursed over 99% of all authorised push payment fraud cases. The bank suggested it remains a “vital protection” for customers of all ages and in particular the most vulnerable.

TSB head of fraud, Ashley Hart, said: “For victims of fraud, getting your money back can be the difference between having your life devastated, or being able to move on from the crime, which is why our pledge to reimburse all innocent victims is so crucial.

“Fraudsters constantly adapt their tactics and target specific age groups in different ways as they aim to steal life-changing sums from their victims. Online platforms such as social media companies are fertile ground for criminals – leaving users facing significant risk of harm.”

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