skip to main content

8 in 10 Brits would be embarrassed to admit they fell for a scam

  • Last Updated: 09-03-2020 at 14:03


Eight in ten Brits would be embarrassed to admit they fell for a scam

  • Dating scams tops the list of criminal tactics people would be embarrassed to talk about, followed by online, investment and phone scams
  • Less than half of people would tell their friend if they fell for a scam, and fewer than one in five would tell a colleague, boss or a neighbour
  • 27 banks and building societies unite under new Take Five Voluntary Charter to provide consistent fraud prevention advice to customers
  • During "Take Five Week" the Take Five to Stop Fraud Campaign is urging consumers to "Tell Five" to broaden consumer awareness of criminals’ tactics to help curb the rise in financial fraud

New research from the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign has revealed eight in ten (80 per cent) people would feel embarrassed if they fell for a financial scam, with the top five ‘scam shames’ being dating scams (82 per cent), online scams (82 per cent), investment scams (81 per cent) and phone scams (80 per cent).

The embarrassment felt in falling for scams is such, that when questioned Brits admit they are more likely to confess to having their social media accounts hacked (68 per cent) or forgetting someone’s name (56 per cent) than admitting they fell for a scam (55 per cent).

With romance scams on the increase – up 64 per cent in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period the year before – the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign is urging users of dating services to look out for signs of a scam and share with others to raise awareness of the prevalence of these criminal tactics.

While most people say they would be comfortable telling their family (62 per cent), less than half would tell close friends (49 per cent) and just 1 in 5 (20 per cent) would tell a work colleague. Even fewer would tell their neighbour (14 per cent) or their boss (9 per cent).

However, when asked what would have the most impact on them personally when it comes to protecting themselves against fraud and scams, more than a quarter (25 per cent) said directly hearing experiences and information from their friends would have the biggest impact.

The research comes at the start of Take Five Week, which will see awareness-raising activities in branches and online, urging customers to Stop, Challenge, Protect if they are ever asked for their money or information.

As part of the week, 27 major banks and buildings societies are uniting under a new Charter to help combat fraud and scams. The Take Five Charter aims to raise awareness of the fight against criminals and get people talking about fraud and scams, bringing the industry together to give people simple and consistent advice. Signatories are required to use the Take Five campaign’s clear information on their websites, digital banking facilities, ATMs, social media, in branch displays and staff communications:

  • Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

A new online quiz, based on a range of current scams, has launched to help bring to life the rising sophistication of criminals and spread awareness of the tricks used. The quiz challenges the public to get scam savvy and test their awareness. Take the test at:

Katy Worobec, Managing Director: Economic Crime at UK Finance, says:

"Fraud can have devastating effects on individuals, families and business. It is imperative that we are all vigilant in the fight against it. More is being done than ever before to protect the public, but the industry can’t tackle the issue alone. During Take Five Week it’s vital that we all help each other by talking about fraud and knowing that it’s important to Stop, Challenge and Protect when asked for any money or information.

"Through the Take Five Charter banks and building societies are joining forces to provide consistent advice to customers as part of the industry’s action to stop money getting into the hands of serious and organised criminals."

Stuart Tweedale, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner and SCAMbassador said:

"Scams often have a devastating effect in victims and is something that anyone can fall prey to.

"This is why it is important to stop and take 5 when we receive correspondence that doesn't seem quite right. Put on the kettle, make yourself a cup of tea and think - could this be a scam?"