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1 in 9 adults were fraud victims last year

1 in 9 adults were fraud victims last year

Victims of fraud lost an average of £1,016 last year, new research has revealed, with one in nine Britons claiming they were targeted by fraudsters.

The survey was conducted by insolvency trade body R3 and ComRes, and revealed that those aged 25-34 were particularly vulnerable to fraudsters, losing an average of £1,408.

Phillip Sykes, president of R3, said although it may be surprising that younger people were the most likely victims of fraud, online fraud had increased that risk.

“It’s important that consumers don’t take things at face value, especially online. Ecommerce may be convenient but convenience is not a substitute for due diligence. If things look too good to be true, they very often are,” explained Phillip.

Those most worried about debt were more likely to be a victim of fraud, with 22 per cent of those ‘extremely’ worried about their debts having been a victim of fraud, compared with only seven per cent of those not worried about their debts.

Phillip commented: “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.”

“Formal insolvency proceedings empower insolvency practitioners to go after fraudsters and return money to victims. In fact in some circumstances, the profession has wider powers than government agencies.

“The re-introduction of criminal bankruptcy, or making fraudsters bankrupt in the public interest, for example, would extend the circumstances in which an insolvency practitioner can pursue all of a fraudster’s assets on behalf of creditors,” said Phillip.

“Fraudsters would find it much harder to avoid repaying victims by hiding behind companies or squirrelling assets away overseas or with friends and relatives.”

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