Main content

Major new research reveals who is REALLY at risk from scams

  • Young people identified as the biggest victims of scams in the UK

  • Nearly two thirds of high value shopping scams are from London, East and the South East of England whilst Plymouth, Sheffield and Southampton are also identified as scam hotspots

  • Barclays re-affirms its mission to beat scammers with a new feature for customers to verify calls from their bank

New data from Barclays has revealed today that young people are five and a half times more likely to fall victim to scams than those over 65, with 30 per cent of 18-24-year-old scam victims not believing ‘there is not much to do’ to protect themselves in future.

However, impersonation scams, where a criminal pretends to be from the police or the victim’s bank and asks the victim to make a payment, sees the largest concentration in the over 65s. These can be particularly devastating, with a third of cases reported to Barclays over £5000

Nearly two thirds of high value shopping scams are from London, East and South East England, whilst
Plymouth, Sheffield and Southampton are also identified as scam hotspots. 

Barclays has revealed the findings as it launches new measures to fight crooks, including becoming the first UK bank to introduce a new call verification feature for its online and mobile banking customers so they can be sure the call from their bank is genuine. 

Ross Martin, Barclays’ Head of Digital Safety, said: "Barclays has stepped up its mission to educate customers about the growing risks of scams, investing more than £18 million during the past two years on our national fraud and scam prevention campaign. As part of our continued efforts to beat scammers, our new call verification feature will give customers extra confidence when picking up the phone to someone from Barclays.”

In London, Plymouth and Sheffield, one in 10 people (11 per cent) have been scammed in the last year. Looking at the last five years, this figure in London jumps to one in five people (19 per cent), 17 per cent of people in Plymouth and one in 10 (13 per cent) people in Sheffield. Looking at the UK as a whole, this translates to one in five people being a victim of scam, with exactly half of the victims (50 per cent) under the age of 34. 

UK’s top ten scam cities

  1. London & Plymouth

  2. Sheffield & Southampton

  3. Manchester

  4. Liverpool

  5. Newcastle & Birmingham

  6. Belfast

  7. Leeds and Norwich

Barclays commitment to beating scammers

To help customers protect themselves against impersonation scams, Barclays is becoming the first UK bank to introduce a new call verification feature for its online and mobile banking customers so they can be sure the call from their bank is genuine. 

When a customer receives a call from Barclays and are concerned about the caller’s identity, they will be
offered the chance to receive an alert in their app or online banking confirming the details of the employee who is calling them. The customer can then choose to accept the call, knowing that they are not giving out any sensitive information to the wrong person. 

This new functionality will be rolled out from today to Barclays Premier customers and will be available to all customers in the coming months. 

Barclays top tips for preventing scams

  1. Never share your PIN, Passcode or Password with anyone – even if they claim to be from the police or your bank

  2. Do not click on any links, or open any attachments in emails from people you don’t recognise

  3. No genuine bank or the police would ask you to transfer money to a ‘safe account’ – ignore anyone who asks you to do this, whether it’s by phone, email or any other method.

  4. Watch out for deals that look too good to be true

For more details on how to stay safe, visit www.barclays.co.uk/security

Notes to editors

Barclays data on reported scams is from April 2017 – June 2018. Within this data, young people are those aged 18 – 29.  

Additional research was carried out online by Opinium across a total of 2,058 nationally representative consumers aged 18-65 in from 14th-20th August 2018. 

Shopping Scam – Occurs when a victim pays in advance for goods or services that are never received. Scams usually involve the use of an online platform such as an auction website. High value shopping scams are those over £2000.

Impersonation Scam – this occurs when a scammer contacts the victim purporting to be from either the police or victim’s bank and asks the victim to make a payment. Reasons given may be to settle a fictitious fine or to cancel an erroneous refund. 

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer and wholesale 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 80,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website www.home.barclays