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Bournemouth scam hotspot of the country, says Citizens Advice

27 July 2016

Bournemouth residents report more scams than people in any other area in England and Wales, says Citizens Advice.

Analysis of 5000 scam cases reported to the consumer champion between January and March 2016 reveals the areas where people are most likely to report a scam, and the different ways scammers target their victims.

The research looked at 102 main postal areas in England and Wales, finding the top hotspots where the most scams were reported per person.

The top ten hotspots for reported scams are:

  1. Bournemouth

  2. Lancaster

  3. Tonbridge

  4. Redhill

  5. Salisbury

  6. Dorchester

  7. Coventry

  8. Exeter

  9. York

  10. Llandudno

The findings come as part of Scams Awareness month, a national campaign run by Citizens Advice and Trading Standards to help people avoid falling prey to scams.

The campaign urges people to follow a three-step rule - get advice, report it, and tell others about it.

Scam methods identified by Citizens Advice included up-front payments, where people were asked to pay for a service which never materialises, and fake services, such as telling people their computer had a virus which they can fix remotely.

In Bournemouth, the most common type of scam was fake services (21 cases) where people were cold-called with an offer of call blocking technology, or a computer virus repair.

There were also 20 cases of up-front payment scams, where people were told they had won the lottery and needed to pay a fee to release their winnings.

A handful of people were targeted with vishing scams, where scammers cold-call and attempt to get people’s bank details. Bournemouth residents reported fraudsters pretending to be their utility provider, asking for bank details so they could refund overpaid bills.

Exeter was the top-ten hotspot where victims lost the most money. Across the country, people who fell prey to scams lost an average of £2500, with people in Exeter losing more than double the national average at £5700 per person.

Exeter residents were most likely to be targeted with fake services including computer virus repairs (17 cases), and subscription traps offering free trials of face creams in return for ongoing payments hidden in the small print (5 cases).

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

“Con-artists are using different tricks to rob people up and down the country.

“Some areas are suffering a blight of cold-calls about computer viruses, while others are bombarded with letters about lottery winnings which actually cost the victim money.

“If you think you may have lost money to a fraudster, seek advice straight away so you can try and get your money back. Reporting scams is the only way to stop scams from spreading, and get them closed down for good.”

Notes to editors

Top 20 scam hotspots across England and Wales

  1. Bournemouth (83 cases, average loss per victim £469)

  2. Lancaster (47 cases, average loss per victim £284)

  3. Tonbridge (93 cases, average loss per victim £1,447)

  4. Redhill (71 cases, average loss per victim £336)

  5. Salisbury (31 cases, average loss per victim £537)

  6. Dorchester (28 cases, average loss per victim £333)

  7. Coventry (97 cases, average loss per victim £2,678)

  8. Exeter (61 cases, average loss per victim £5,736)

  9. York (62 cases, average loss per victim £1,414)

  10. Llandudno (53 cases, average loss per victim £5,501)

  11. Norwich (77 cases, average loss per victim £1,814)

  12. Lincoln (31 cases, average loss per victim £4,567)

  13. Brighton (84 cases, average loss per victim £974)

  14. Gloucester (63 cases, average loss per victim £3,508)

  15. Telford (22 cases, average loss per victim £695)

  16. Rochester (61 cases, average loss per victim £734)

  17. Swansea (79 cases, average loss per victim £2,285)

  18. Hemel Hempstead (48 cases, average loss per victim £9,036)

  19. Chester (64 cases, average loss per victim £3,642)

  20. Torquay (27 cases, average loss per victim £1,266)
  1. Citizens Advice divided scams reported to the consumer helpline into 102 main postal areas in England and Wales. The reported scams were compared to the population in the same areas as per the ONS 2011 Census.
  1. Scams Awareness Month is run by the Consumer Empowerment Partnership. Formed in April 2012, the CPP brings together key partners within the consumer landscape to better identify, prioritise and coordinate collective action to tackle detriment more effectively than they could through working in isolation.
  2. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  3. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  4. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  5. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
  6. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
  7. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.