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Scams to be aware of amid the UK’s cost of living crisis

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As the UK continues to struggle with its cost-of-living crisis, scammers are using it to exploit people's financial vulnerability.

Criminals have already stolen £609.8 million during the first half of 2022 through a number of scams.

In June, Citizens Advice warned that scams targeted over three-quarters of adults in the UK— a 14 percent increase from last year.

READ MORE: THE MOST COMMON SCAMS OF 2022 AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

With rising living costs, scammers have come up with a number of complex frauds that target people who are struggling with rising costs.

Crash for cash

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Crash-for-cash scams are when scammers deliberately cause crashes to make fake insurance claims.

It's becoming more common as the end of the year approaches.

They do it by deliberately slamming on their brakes on busy roads, causing the driver behind to crash into their vehicle.

Detective chief inspector of the City of London Police's Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, Tom Hill, said: "As we have seen in the past, a rise in the cost of living and resulting financial hardships can often drive people to commit fraud. Unfortunately, this means that the public need to be even more alert than usual to fraudsters, like 'Crash for Cash' drivers."

To stop this from happening, it is recommended to keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front and to keep an eye out for erratic drivers.

Email invoices and online payments

An email invoice scam has targeted 24 percent of adults this year.

Criminals will take actual email invoices and slightly change payment details, so the money is diverted to them instead.

It was revealed that 35 percent of people didn't know this was a scam.

In the first half of 2022, victims lost £27.1 million to these fraudsters.

To avoid this happening to you; it is always recommended to double-check payment details and look out for anything that looks off in the email, particularly the senders address, which is quite often nothing like the original sender's.

Pension scams

If you like to save money, you have a higher chance of becoming a victim of this scam amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Due to inflation, which continues to rise, scammers are trying to convince savers to take out a chunk of their pension fund and are promised more money back for investing it.

Head of retirement policy at AJ Bell, Tom Selby, said: "Unscrupulous fraudsters will attempt to take advantage of vulnerability through any means possible, from offering 'early access to pensions to pushing dodgy investments promising sky-high, guaranteed returns.

"Offers such as these might be particularly tempting to people experiencing inflation on the brink of double digits."

To avoid this scam, it has been advised to hang up on anyone who tries to reach out to discuss a 'pension review' and only trust official companies who do this sort of work- do your research.

Ofgem impersonators

ActionFraud has warned energy consumers about a new scam that involves texts from numbers pretending to be a part of Ofgem - the government regulator for the electricity and gas industry.

The fake texts and emails then link to a phony version of the Ofgem website.

You will then be asked to enter your account details to receive the government's £400 energy rebate.

Ofgem warns customers that they will never ask for details over email or text.

Senior personal finance analyst at Interactive Investor, Myron Jobson, said: "It is essential to be extra vigilant and be wary of scams amid the rollout of various government cost of living support schemes.

"As we saw during the pandemic, there are no depths unscrupulous individuals won't sink to swindle cash from unsuspecting victims."

"Offers such as these might be particularly tempting to people experiencing inflation on the brink of double digits."

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