New data has revealed that where you live in the UK affects how likely you are to be scammed, and the nature of the fraud you are most susceptible to.
Norfolk is a hotspot for dating scams, wealthier countries like Surrey and London are targeted for investment or regular-payment fraud, while those in rural Wales are most commonly drawn into computer-fix hustles.
Consumer watchdog Which? published the information after trawling through thousands of fraud reports submitted to the national Action Fraud centre; which found there were 264,204 cases nationwide in 2016 – up 10.7% on 2015.
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Cromer, seaside town in Norfolk, England
In Norfolk members of the public are most likely to be conned into sending money to someone they believe they are in a relationship with online, with 1.6 reports per 10,000 people, compared to the national average of 1.1.
They are also vulnerable to reported lottery scams, where victims are duped into paying to enter a non-existent prize draw, with 2.2 reports per 10,000 people compared with 1.0 nationally.
Surrey is the target for criminals looking to commit investment fraud and regular-payment fraud; where they persuade you to re-route a regular payment, or standing order, such as your energy bills.
Northamptonshire residents are most likely to report suffering online shopping and auction fraud, where a product sold online did not exist, arrive or match its description; there were 21.6 victims per 10,000 compared to 16.9.
West and mid-Wales is the hotspot for fake computer fixes, with cold callers offering to fix a non-existent computer glitch, with 19.3 reports per 10,000 people, compared with the general average of 10.4.
This fraud – which has risen 47% in two years to a high of 5.4 million cases a year – targets rural, isolated areas with elderly female populations.
Cybercrime in Dorset is most popular in the guise of a computer virus, malware or spyware, with 15,561 reports from 2014 to 2016.
And the capital is most vulnerable to social media hacking, with 16,249 reports in the last twelve months alone.
After looking at the figures, Which? are now calling on the government to do more to tackle the problem.
Gareth Shaw, Which? money expert, said: “”These criminals are constantly finding new ways to rip us off and those tackling fraud should be upping their game.
“The government needs to set out an ambitious agenda to tackle fraud, while law enforcement agencies need to be working harder to identify and protect the people most at risk from fraud.”
People who have been the victim of a bank transfer scam can use a Which? tool to share their experience at www.which.co.uk/bank-transfers.