One in eight Scots were victim to fraud in 2014

SinBinOne in eight people living in Scotland have been victim to fraud in the last year, according to the results of a survey conducted across the UK in March.

Insolvency trade body R3 commissioned a poll of 2,000 people across the UK to support its claims that the scale of fraud in the UK is “staggering” and young people are particularly at risk.

Scots were more likely than the average UK resident to be victim to fraud, with one in nine people across the whole UK claiming to have been a victim of fraud. The pollsters only found a higher proportion than Scotland in London, where one in six said they had been hit.

People aged between 25 and 34 were most likely to report having been the victim of fraud, which R3 says is attributable to the prevalence of online fraud and the susceptibility of this age group to online fraud.

R3 Scotland chair Tim Cooper said: “It may be surprising that younger generations are the most likely victims of fraud, but online fraud does place younger age groups more at risk. It’s important consumers don’t take things at face value, especially online.

“E-commerce may be convenient, but convenience is not a substitute for due diligence. If things look too good to be true, they very often are. It’s saddening that the most financially precarious are also the most vulnerable to fraud.

“It may be that there’s a role for improved adult financial education. A lack of knowledge about finances can not only contribute to financial difficulties but it also makes it easier for fraudsters to perpetrate their scams.”

Citizens Advice Scotland policy officer Fraser Sutherland told The Scotsman that Scots were beginning to fight back against fraud and urged the public to report scams.

He said: “Last year, CAS saw a 14 per cent increase in the advice we gave on fraud, with early figures showing another likely increase this year.

“More and more people are coming to us to report scams and fraud, and we help pass on all the information to the relevant enforcement authorities.

“Even if you haven’t actually been the victim of a scam yourself, you should still report any you know about, so that we can help protect people from it and maybe bring the perpetrators to justice. If someone took money out of your pocket, you would report it to the police. Online fraud is no different.

“We need to work together to raise awareness of fraud and stamp it out. Every one of us has a role to play in that.”

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