Online scam warning as fraudsters get away with more than £1m

Police are warning people to exercise caution over online scams with figures showing the impact of internet con-artists.

People are being warned to be extra vigilant against online scammers
People are being warned to be extra vigilant against online scammers

Fresh research has shown that there was a reported £1.1m lost to online scams in West Mercia in the 12 months up to July.

The average loss per case was £829, with around 103 reports per 100,000 people in the area.

For Dyfed Powys £522k was lost, at an average of £771 a case, with 130 reports for every 100,000 people – the joint second highest figure in England and Wales.

In April, Dyfed Powys Police issued a number of warnings for scams they had recognised circulating within their jurisdiction.

These included scams via Facebook Marketplace, on fake gift cards and fraudsters pretending to be from Tesco.

Wholesale Clearance, which conducted the research by contacting 48 police forces, said there was a combined loss of £53.7 million overall, from 75,868 reports between June 2021 and July 2022.

West Mercia Police Detective Inspector Emma Wright urged people to be cautious over how they use the internet – and to always check the identity of anyone who gets in touch asking for personal information, or money.

She said: "Fraud can be extremely cruel, often targeting elderly or vulnerable people, and we are constantly working to prevent it from happening and arrest those responsible.

“Our message is simple – your bank or the police will never, ever ask you to hand over money, bank cards or bank account details.

“Always verify the identity of anyone who contacts you asking for personal information.

“If you receive a suspicious phone call, hang up, wait five minutes to ensure the line is clear, before reporting to Action Fraud or police using the details below.

“Also be aware of ‘phishing’ emails or text messages asking for personal information and if you have any doubt, do not open the email or click on any links.

“If you have any concerns, make a report to Action Fraud by visiting or calling 0300 123 2040 or report to police by calling 101 or, in an emergency, 999.

“Suspicious emails can be forwarded to

“Suspicious texts can be forwarded to your network provider at 7726.

“We urge everyone to tell friends, family and neighbours about the warning signs of potential scams and how they can report it.”

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