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Unreported World: Embarrassed fraud victims sweep a third of scams under the carpet

  • A third of Britons have now been a victim of fraud but the average person would only report it if they lost £112 or more
  • Embarrassment is one of the most common reasons for people not reporting the crime 
  • £893.34 is now the average amount lost to fraudsters, per scam 
  • To reduce the stigma surrounding fraud and to encourage people to speak out, Barclays is launching the Embarrassing Fraud Clinic and a brand new online fraud intervention service

New research from Barclays* has today revealed that a third (34 per cent) of fraud cases have gone unreported to banks and nearly three quarters (72 per cent) were not reported to the police, due to one in four Brit’s being too embarrassed.


A third (34 per cent) of UK adults have now been a victim of fraud, falling for scams not once, but twice on average in their lifetime. The financial impact of this is huge, with the average amount stolen reaching £893.34 per scam, according to the 1,500 victims questioned.


Interestingly, those who hadn’t been defrauded said they would only report online fraud if it was £112 or more.  Whereas, for those who had experienced fraud, the number jumped to £235.15 showing that we’re less inclined to come forward, when it actually happens to us.


Victims of fraud reported feeling stupid (31 per cent), victimised (23 per cent), helpless (13 per cent) and gullible (12 per cent). As a result, the effect online fraud has on a victim’s life is profound as over half (52 per cent) kept it a secret from their friends and family. Furthermore, a quarter (25 per cent) didn’t confide in their partner and five per cent actually ended up splitting up, following the scam. For those who did talk about the crime, one in 10 felt judged by friends and family.


In fact, a quarter of people feel that losing money to a fraudster would be more embarrassing than doing a live performance on stage, being picked on by a comedian or being stood up on a date. Victims would also rather walk around with their skirt tucked in their underwear or make a mistake in front of the boss than tell someone about their terrible experiences.


To help tackle this stigma and to reassure people that being a victim of fraud is not embarrassing, Barclays is launching its Embarrassing Fraud Clinic.


Visiting three cities London, Manchester and Glasgow, the clinics will provide the public with free access to a wealth of information and knowledge. Expert advice and support will be given by Jenny Radcliff, a “people hacker” and Julie Clegg, former Detective and Intelligence Expert on Channel 4’s TV show ‘Hunted’ – alongside a Barclays Digital Eagle. A ‘digital health check’ will also be on offer with personalised advice on protecting against potential cyber threats. 


The move comes as Barclays today announced it is to be the first UK high street bank to introduce a new online fraud intervention service** to its online banking system. From today, customers tricked into transferring money to a fraudster using online banking can get support faster to fix the situation.


Stopping fraudsters in their tracks, the questions are designed for customers to have a ‘stop and think’ moment to consider whether the request they have had to make a payment is genuine. Customers will now be asked three fraud prevention questions immediately after making a suspicious and out of character online payment. If the customer has any doubts about the payment after answering the questions, they are asked to call Barclays immediately using the number on the back of their card.


Ashok Vaswani, CEO Barclays UK said: “We want to encourage people to talk more openly about scams, so that we can work together to lift the stigma of fraud. If people are too embarrassed to even tell their friends and family, then how can we expect them to report it to their banks?


“The Embarrassing Fraud Clinic and our new online fraud intervention service makes up the next phase of our £10 million commitment to helping people stay safe in cyber space, launched earlier this year. With the average British person being targeted 12 times* over the last 12 months never has it been more vital for us to lead the fightback against the fraudsters and increase the public’s resilience to cyber-attacks, helping them stay secure in the digital age. We hope that the Embarrassing Fraud Clinic gives people a safe environment to discuss their fraud worries and get advice and tips on how to protect themselves.”


People Hacker, Jenny Radcliffe said: "Falling for scams is very common, and if you are a victim you shouldn't feel ashamed, or even guilty, because it can happen to anyone, and you are not alone.  Fraudsters target people from all walks of life as potential victims, and whilst it seems very personal when it happens to you, criminals are generally working through long lists of emails and phone numbers looking to catch someone, anyone, out.


“Awareness is key, and the more people understand about cons and scams the more likely they are to notice something suspicious or question a fraudster, and help to protect themselves. I’m delighted to be supporting the Barclays Embarrassing Fraud Clinic, where I’ll be on hand to offer advice on how best to avoid fraud, and to help give people the confidence to report it should they fall victim.”


Julie Clegg, former Detective and Intelligence Expert on Channel 4’s TV Show ‘Hunted’ added: “The scale of fraud is phenomenal and there is a lot of work to be done to tackle this growing issue. I see it every day, and what’s interesting is the common misconception around who is often behind it. Fraud is a multimillion pound global industry and many of these crimes and scams are carefully planned out and executed by “organisations” that could be compared in structure and strategy to a multinational corporation. They are technical masters, they have a business plan, they analyse their statistics, they operate in a tactical way, and they hire the best and brightest hackers they can find.


“Not speaking out should you be a victim is really helping the fraudsters so it’s great to be part of the Barclays Embarrassing Fraud Clinic where we are encouraging people to talk more openly about it.”


The Embarrassing Fraud Clinic will be putting on a number of public seminars hosted by Barclays own cyber experts, known as the Digital Eagles. These seminars will offer information on the most common types of fraud and scams, as well as tips on how to protect against them. 


The tour will start on London’s Southbank on Thursday, 26th October before visiting Manchester and Glasgow. The clinic will be open to everyone, not just Barclays customers, and is free to attend.


To book your place, visit:

For those who can’t visit the clinic, Barclays has 17,000 Digital Eagles around the country who can provide advice on how to protect yourself from fraud and scams.

Notes to editors

*National representative based on two surveys of 2,000 UK adults and 1,500 UK victims of fraud conducted by OnePoll in September 2017.


Three top tips from Barclays Bank to help the UK fightback against the fraudsters:

1.    Never share your PIN or password with anyone (even if they are claiming to be from the bank)

2.    Do not click on any links or open any attachments or emails from people you are unsure about or don’t recognize.

3.    Avoid letting anyone you don’t know have access to your computer.


To find out more about fighting fraud with Barclays, visit


**You can find out more about the new online fraud intervention service at:

The new online fraud intervention service is designed to interrupt customers and make them pause in order to reflect on whether they may be a victim of a scam.  If the customer, despite our intervention, still continues with the payment then they may still be held liable. However, each customer’s circumstances will be judged on a case by case basis.

In addition to the new online fraud intervention service, Barclays attempts to text or phone a customer to confirm whether a payment is genuine.

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer, corporate and investment bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 85,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website .