Scammers target 2 in 5 people in the South East during lockdown

Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East) has found that scammers have targeted 2 in 5 people (42%) in the South East, since lockdown came into effect across the country.

Seven in ten people (69%) are worried someone they know could get conned. The large majority of people (91%) reported they felt wary of Coronavirus scams*.

We, along with Trading Standards, are encouraging people to talk about their experiences and look out for others they think could be at risk.

Use the Citizens Advice online scams checker if you’re worried you may have been targeted by a scammer, and report scams to us by following the information here.
You can also phone us locally on our Adviceline: 0344 477 1171.

We’re urging people to follow these tips, and share them with others who may be at risk:

  • Look into installing a call blocker to help combat telephone scams
  • Talk to your or their bank immediately if there is any suspicious activity or transactions from their account or credit cards
  • Report the scam to Citizens Advice who will give you advice on what to do next and report the scam to Trading Standards
  • Report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040
  • If you or someone you know is struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts Citizens Advice may be able to help

You can also take the following steps to safeguard yourself and others:

  • Be suspicious if you’re contacted out of the blue, even if it’s from a name you recognise
  • If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
  • Never send money to someone you’ve never met
  • Never give out your bank details unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you
  • Don’t be rushed – you never need to make a decision straight away and if you feel pressured say “no”
  • Suspect a scam? Hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line or use another phone to call
  • Don’t suffer in silence – speak out about scams.

Emma Cross, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East), said:
‘Our data shows that the last few months have been very difficult for a lot of people across West Sussex. And despite this, we’ve seen appalling evidence of opportunistic scammers taking advantage of people’s worries and concerns.

“Two in five locals have been targeted by a scam since lockdown began, showing we all need to be on high alert.

“It’s really important we all do our bit and report anything that looks like a con when we see it. By learning how scammers operate, and helping each other understand what to look out for, we can all work together to stop fraudsters in their tracks.’

Please contact us if you’re worried about scams:
Call Adviceline: 0344 477 1171
Email us: please click here
Web chat: please click here
Find a link to contact us via a BSL interpreter: please click here.


* Citizens Advice commissioned Opinium Research to carry out a survey of 2,009 18+ UK adults between 13th and 19th May 2020. Fieldwork was carried out online. Data is weighted to be representative of the population.
Citizens Advice commissioned Populus Data Solutions who conducted fieldwork of an online sample of 2022 18+ GB adults on 28th May 2020. Data is weighted to be representative of the population of Great Britain.