40% of people in NI the target of scams over three years

The main group targeted is those between the ages of 20 and 49, despite the perception that the primary target of scams are older people. Credit: UTV

Forty percent of people in Northern Ireland have been the target of a scam within the last three years, according to the Consumer Council.The main group targeted is those between the ages of 20 and 49, despite the perception that the primary target of scams are older people.

Noyona Chundur, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council, said

“Research carried out by the Consumer Council in 2021 found that 40% of people in Northern Ireland have unfortunately been targeted by a scam in the past three years.

“This research demonstrates the importance of having a collective such as ScamwiseNI present within Northern Ireland, and for that reason I am very proud to have been a part of the partnership for the past 5 years. As we become more reliant on the internet, scammers are finding new ways to target people, meaning our work in protecting consumers has never been more important.

"I look forward to continuing to work as part of the ScamwiseNI partnership in educating citizens on how they can better spot, stop, and report scams."

The news comes as part of a celebration of a five year partnership between the PSNI and ScamwiseNI.

Chair of the Partnership, Superintendent Gerard Pollock said:

“Our collaboration with partners has enabled us to create innovative schemes designed to educate and increase public awareness to ensure people know exactly what to do if they suspect they are the victim of a scam.

“Since 2016, there has been a significant rise in the number of reported scams and whilst there has been a rise in general around the UK and further afield, we are pleased that through our commitment to raising awareness, more and more people are spotting and therefore reporting scams.

 “There is still a perception that older people are the main victims of scams however the public may be surprised to learn that the age group most affected are those aged between 20 and 49. The reason for this may be down to the growth in social media use and online shopping which has resulted in a huge increase in scams in those areas.

“Fraudsters are continually coming up with more sophisticated and convincing ways of duping people out of money and possessions so partnerships like ScamwiseNI are vital in ensuring they do not succeed,” added Superintendent Pollock.