2.6 million people scammed since first UK lockdown

Around 2.6 million UK adults have been scammed online since the first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020, a study by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) revealed.

The figure equates to approximately 5% of adults online.

A survey undertaken by YouGov, based on findings from 2,196 adults, indicated that the majority (51%) of the public think consumer scam protection is underfunded.

It also painted a stark picture of consumer vulnerability throughout the UK, with 2% of respondents reporting losing more than £500 to a scam since March 2020, which would equate to over 1 million of the population. 

Just 9% of respondents thought existing funding was adequate while the survey also found that 56% of consumers do not believe current consumer protection laws are fit to stop negative experiences for consumers. 

CTSI chief executive, John Herriman, said the study provides a “sobering message” for the system protecting consumers.

“The majority of the public does not believe that existing measures are suitable for their protection, while a clear majority believes scams protection is underfunded,” Herriman stated.

“Trading Standards Officers and other consumer protection professionals are working extremely hard under very challenging conditions to protect the public at a time of unprecedented challenges. It's incredibly frustrating for them to know consumers are at risk but too often to be able to do anything about it due to resource constraints and competing priorities.

“The public needs more protection now than ever as a result of the long-term economic and social consequences of COVID-19, and we feel obligated to raise the profile of the level of risk consumers are exposed to so that we can ensure the right level of protection is in place.”

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