At least three-in-five people in the UK have been targeted by scams in the last year, research suggests.

Some 61% of people have received a fake delivery company text over the past year, according to consumer group Which? while almost one-in-four have been targeted by holiday scams, Lloyds Bank says.

With many households relying on deliveries during the coronavirus pandemic, fraudsters will pose as couriers and delivery companies to con people.

Of those who received the scam texts, 79% realised it was fake immediately, but 3% said they lost money to the scam.

Which? also conducted its own experiment, setting up four new Sim cards with major network providers.

The consumer champion said despite the numbers not being shared with anyone, two out of the four received at least one scam text message in just a two-week period.

Scammers use computers to generate combinations of numbers and send messages in bulk using “Sim farms” – devices that operate several Sim cards at a time, Which? said.

Numbers are often masked or “spoofed” to avoid detection – so someone may appear to have received a text from a delivery company, when it is actually a scammer.

Of those surveyed who said they received one or more scam texts, seven in 10 (70%) had received one purporting to be from the Royal Mail.

Messages usually request a small payment for a parcel to be delivered, with a link to a copycat Royal Mail website, and victims are then called by scammers to try to trick them into sending…

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