Five million people in the UK say that they have been the victims of financial scams, and another 23 million say that they have been unsuccessfully targeted, says a Which? survey.
The most widely reported scam is the use of an automated phone call, inviting people to claim a prize.
A third of people in the UK have received one of these calls and two million people have been caught out by calling a premium-rate phone number.
Almost eight million people also said that they have been caught out by material claiming to have been sent by an international lottery board, telling people they have won despite not entering the draw.
The fraudsters then request bank details for payment and then compare credit card details before raiding accounts.
“The con artists who run these scams are experts in fooling people into parting with their money. Unfortunately, it’s rare to get something for nothing – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said Which? editor Malcolm Coles.
“Avoid giving them the information they need by checking thoroughly before confirming email addresses or giving bank account details to anybody you don’t know.”
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