A third* of the UK population has experienced fraud or a scam after answering an unsolicited phone call

Equifax is highlighting the tricks scammers use to dupe consumers out of their savings and disclose their personal data as part of Scam Awareness Month

According to Citizens Advice, consumers aged between 40 and 60 years old are the most affected by scams, with 34% claiming to have been victims of fraud . To coincide with Citizens Advice Scam Awareness Month, which starts on 1st July, credit information provider Equifax is releasing research which shows how this age group – known as ‘life established’ – is exposing its personal information to unnecessary risk.

The online YouGov research commissioned by Equifax reveals that a third of the UK population has experienced fraud or a scam after answering a phone call from a company or someone they didn’t know. A further 14% clicked on a link within an email from a company or person they didn’t know.

Those aged 55+ are most likely to have experienced a telephone scam, with 37% being victims of this type of fraud. And over 1 in 10 (11%) across all age groups who have experienced a scam lost money as a result of a scam, with 45 to 54 year olds most likely to lose out financially (13%).

In addition, 1 in 5 (21%) said they had experienced a virus on their computer or device, with 45 to 54 year olds being most vulnerable (29%).

Lisa Hardstaff, identity fraud expert at Equifax, says, ""Our research shows that ‘life established’ individuals – those who are settled with several financial assets – are the most affected by unsolicited phone calls and emails which result in fraud.

"This could be because they have the most assets to lose and are therefore an appealing target. Or the fact that they are most likely to report a fraud or scam, meaning there is more robust industry data on this age group.

"But whatever the case, we think Scam Awareness Month provides an ideal opportunity to highlight the risks posed by scammers who use sophisticated methods to trick consumers out of their savings and personal data.

"We urge people not to give away any personal information over the phone or by email. A legitimate company will never ask for bank details or passwords. By taking simple precautions consumers can stay safe and keep the scammers at bay."

STAY SAFE FROM SCAMS WITH EQUIFAX’S TOP TIPS

  • Use a ‘call block’ product to stop nuisance calls.
  • Report unsolicited marketing calls to the Information Commissioner’s Office – https://ico.org.uk/concerns/marketing.
  • Never reveal your PIN to anybody, even a friend or relative, and not even someone calling and claiming to be your bank or credit card provider.
  • Never click on links in emails from people you don’t know or blank messages just containing a link or links.
  • Use the latest anti-virus protection with hourly updates and ensure that you’ve got a firewall installed.
  • Regularly review your credit report to look out for any unauthorised activity.
  • Always check bank statements and credit card statements carefully against receipts.
  • Have different passwords to log in to different websites. This can help to minimise the damage and keep hackers at bay if one of your passwords is compromised.
  • Use a phrase and a mixture of characters and numbers for passwords.
  • Keep your PIN and passwords secure and ensure they are not easy to guess.
  • Don’t carry credit card receipts, payslips, driving licences, bank statements or utility bills in your bag or wallet – they all contain private information fraudsters can use.
  • Log out of online banking websites rather than just closing the window.
  • Never store your PIN on a smartphone, tablet or laptop device – if they are stolen fraudsters may have access to all your Facebook details.
  • Do a factory reset when trading in an old phone to wipe it clean and remove any personal data.
  • Shred financial statements, bills and direct mail which contain personal information.
  • Tell friends and family if you’ve been scammed to help them avoid the same trick.
  • Report scams to Trading Standards and Citizens Advice or call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

The Equifax Credit Report is accessible for 30 days free by logging onto www.equifax.co.uk/Products/credit/credit-report. If customers do not cancel before the end of the 30 day free trial, the service will continue at £9.95 per month, giving them unlimited online access to their credit information and weekly alerts on any changes to their credit file. It also includes an online dispute facility to help them correct any errors on their credit file simply and quickly.

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc Total sample size was 2163 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 23rd-24th November 2016.The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

ENDS

For further press information, please contact: Clare Watson, Cecile Stearn, Parm Heer or Wendy Harrison at HSL on 020 8977 9132 / Fax: 020 8977 5200 or Email: equifaxbtocteam@harrisonsadler.com

About Equifax

Equifax, Inc. ("Equifax") powers the financial future of individuals and organizations around the world. Using the combined strength of unique trusted data, technology and innovative analytics, Equifax has grown from a consumer credit company into a leading provider of insights and knowledge that helps its customers make informed decisions. The company organizes, assimilates and analyses data on more than 800 million consumers and more than 88 million businesses worldwide, and its databases include employee data contributed from more than 5,000 employers.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. It is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index, and its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. Equifax employs approximately 9,200 employees worldwide.

Some noteworthy achievements for the company include: Ranked 13 on the American Banker FinTech Forward list (2015); named a Top Technology Provider on the FinTech 100 list (2004-2015); named an InformationWeek Elite 100 Winner (2014-2015); named a Top Workplace by Atlanta Journal Constitution (2013-2015); named one of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies (2011-2015); named one of Forbes’ World’s 100 Most Innovative Companies (2015). For more information, visit www.equifax.com

Equifax Limited is one of the Equifax group companies based in the UK.

Equifax Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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