And the numbers of reports are increasing month on month with people aged 50-59 reporting the most concerns.
Now Cumbria Police is teaming up with The Cumberland Building Society to run a series of crime prevention clinics in its branches to raise awareness and answer customers’ questions.
“What people should realise is fraudsters are often organised criminals who know how to manipulate people and get what they want,” said Detective Constable Claire Keyes, who warns the latest stats are just the tip of the iceberg as fraud is massively under-reported.
“Many of us have probably had a phone call, text message or email where someone is offering a service that is fake,” said Claire. “Or we’ve received an email where the sender has asked us to click on a link, with the motive being to carry out fraud or cybercrime.
“There are many people who are not comfortable online – and this will give them the opportunity to hear more about how they can protect themselves.”
The clinics will run during National Fraud Awareness Week in Cumberland branches from 10am to 2pm in:
“It is very important people know that being defrauded is not their fault; they should not feel ashamed – they are victims of crime just like every other victim of crime,” added Claire who will be on hand to reassure customers and provide vital advice.
The Cumberland has a financial crime team working full time to minimise the risk of online fraud and respond to any questions or concerns.
Amanda Nattrass, financial crime team leader with The Cumberland said that while her colleagues are constantly working in the background to minimise threats, there are some simple steps that everyone can take in order to avoid falling victim to scams and fraudsters.
“We would never ask you to disclose card details, One Time Passcodes or Internet Banking details. Anyone who asks for these is not genuine and these should never be disclosed to anyone.
“Also be wary of who you are speaking to even if it appears to be from a trusted source – phone number, text message or email. If you have any doubt please hang up and contact us on a separate phone line or wait 15 minutes to ensure the line is clear.
“All our staff have been trained in how to deal with fraud and will be able to help with any concerns people may have in branch or over the phone with our customer care or financial crime teams.”
Cumbria police are also encouraging people to mention next week’s sessions to older or more vulnerable members of the family, friends or neighbours.
“We’d encourage them to suggest this to them, or accompany them to whichever event is most convenient,” said DC Keyes.
“But anyone can become a victim of fraud,” she added, “so these sessions – and the chance to ask questions – could be useful to anyone.”