Warwickshire has been revealed as the UK hotspot for fraud against shops, based on latest information from consumer watchdog Which?. They collated the data, which came via a Freedom of Information request.
The information shared demonstrated that while the national average for this fraud type is 3.34 reports per 10,000 people, in Warwickshire this figure was 15.67 per 10,000 people – nearly 5 times the national average.
Warwickshire also had above national average reporting for:
– Computer Fixing Fraud = 11.64 reports per 10,000 in Warwickshire
– Fees of Fake Services Fraud = 10.65 reports per 10,000 in Warwickshire
– Cheque, Plastic Card and Online Bank Fraud = 7.64 reports per 10,000 in Warwickshire
– Fake or Stolen Products Fraud = 6.77 reports per 10,000 in Warwickshire
– Door to Door Scams = 2.36 reports per 10,000 in Warwickshire
– Regular Payment Fraud = 2.35 reports per 10,000 in Warwickshire
Fraud Against Shops
Although this directly affects retailers, it can also impact consumers; many shops now have access to large amounts of customer data that could end up in the hands of fraudsters.
What Can You Do As An Individual?
Check that the sites you use for online shopping are encrypted – look for the padlock symbol and the prefix ‘https’ in the address bar.
Be cautious when sharing personal data with shops – do you really need to sign up to every mailing list?
Who Is Targeted?
Which’s report did suggest that certain demographics are targeted by different scams – so, for example, fake computer fixes tend to focus on elderly women living in rural areas.
Meanwhile, regular-payment fraud – where a fraudster persuades you to re-route a regular payment by posing as, say, your energy company – is reported more in areas with higher house prices.
Other National Hotspots
- Northamptonshire residents are most likely to report suffering online shopping and auction scams – it affected 21.6 victims per 10,000 compared to 16.9 nationally.
- Those living in Dorset fall for computer virus, malware and spyware fraud with 15,561 reports from 2014 to 2016.
- London is the fraud capital of a range of scams, including 16,249 reports of social media hacking
Members of the public can click on an interactive map to find out the most commonly occurring fraud in their county.
Make a scam/rogue trader complaint to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.
If you are a Warwickshire business, and would like any more information relating to keeping yourself safe from all crime against businesses, go to the Warwickshire Business Watch website.
Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety. Their website offers advice on how you can protect yourself, your computers and devices, and your business against the likes of fraud, identity theft, viruses and other potential online problems.