People between the ages of 21 and 30 are the most likely to be targets of scams, a major bank has warned.

Barclays have warned people as young as 11 are being targeted by opportunistic fraudsters, despite people aged 71 or over believed to be those most at risk of fraud, according to new research.

A survey commissioned by the bank quizzed 2,000 people to compare perceptions of likely fraud victims to its own data on fraud cases between April and June.

Despite 21 to 30-year-olds being the most likely victims in Barclays’ scam reports, accounting for 29% of cases, people tended to assume older people are more likely to be scammed, the bank found.

After 20-somethings, people aged 31 to 40 were the next most targeted group for scammers, according to the bank’s data, representing 24% of cases.

Purchase scams, when people buy goods online which do not exist or never arrive, were particularly prevalent among those aged 21 to 30, Barclays found.

People aged between 11 and 20 made up 10% of total purchase scam victims.

Advice from Barclays

Ross Martin, head of digital safety at Barclays, said: “Unfortunately, fraudsters don’t discriminate when it comes to scams and everyone, irrespective of age, is susceptible to them. The reality is that if you don’t think you’d ever get scammed, you’re the ideal victim.”

He added: “If anything raises your suspicions, talk to someone you trust and don’t ignore your concerns. Always phone the person or the company back on a trusted and validated number to confirm it’s really them, and if you do spot a scam, report it to the police, to help protect yourself and others.

“We can’t over-emphasise the importance of calling back and not trusting the number that has called you – often fraudsters will call from a number that looks identical to the number that a customer trusts.

“This impersonation of valid numbers is often a factor in duping customers into the scam. So if in doubt call back.”

Age groups most likely to be targets of a scam

Here are the age groups accounting for recently reported scams, according to Barclays’ data on victims:

  • 11 to 20, 8.0%
  • 21 to 30, 28.8%
  • 31 to 40, 24.3%
  • 41 to 50, 17.3%
  • 51 to 60, 11.8%
  • 61 to 70, 5.7%
  • over 70 – 4.1%