Parcel delivery fraud is “by far” the most common scam faced by the public so far this year, according to Citizens Advice figures.
Almost half of people targeted by scammers (49%) found themselves involved in a malicious parcel delivery scam, with fraudsters attempting to get hold of personal information or bank details.
Citizens Advice said its research suggested that 40 million people had been targeted by scams already this year.
It warned that several of the most frequently encountered scams involved a “quite sophisticated” impersonation of official organisations.
Those targeted by parcel delivery scams received texts or emails claiming to be from a delivery company to reschedule or pay additional delivery fees in an attempt to get people’s personal information or bank details.
Others were given false tracking information for items bought online, which never arrived.
Among the 29% who encountered banking scams included those who received correspondence claiming to be from one of the banks attempting to obtain their account.
Victims of online shopping scams bought goods which never arrived, often once the seller had the money and had blocked all contact from the buyer.
The charity’s data revealed over-75s were the most commonly targeted, with 87% facing a scam and most often via telephone.
The next most at-risk age group was 18 to 24 years, with 84% targeted – usually via text or mobile messaging.
The Citizens Advice Consumer Service received more than 9,000 reports of scams between January and April.
The charity is urging more people to report scams to help protect others from falling victim.
Citizens Advice chief executive Dame Clare Moriarty said: “Anyone can be targeted by a scam and sadly anyone can fall for one.
“As scammers get ever more sophisticated it’s more important than ever that we all work together to raise awareness, report scams and share our experiences to help protect ourselves from their tricks.”
John Herriman, chief executive at Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: “Scams cause immense stress to people of all ages and often result in huge financial loss.
“While anyone can be targeted by a scam, we can all make ourselves and each other safer by following some helpful guidelines to check the legitimacy of our transactions, parcels and messages.
“It’s vital to spread awareness about the harm caused by scammers, and Trading Standards will continue to work with partners to keep the public informed and protected.”