Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign warns public to stay alert as criminals take advantage when we’re busy or preoccupied

  • Criminals most commonly successfully defraud customers in the afternoon
  • Take Five unveils ScamSceptible tool to help people understand how susceptible they could be to fraud and how they can stay safe.

Criminals will take time and effort to gain your trust to seem believable. Whilst many people are aware of criminals’ tactics, it can be difficult to spot the signs when we are distracted, or our mind is elsewhere.

Figures highlight that criminals take advantage of our distractions and are most successful at tricking customers in the afternoon, with nearly half (43%) of those scammed in the last two years saying that’s when it took place.

Paul Maskall, Take Five to Stop Fraud spokesperson says: “When we’re at our busiest, we are more likely to miss the red flags that might otherwise warn us that something could be a scam. That’s why it’s important to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and Stop, Challenge and Protect to stay safe from fraud.

“When we are worried or our mind is elsewhere it can make us more susceptible to scams, or ‘ScamSceptible’. Therefore, it’s important to take a moment to stop and think whether it could be fake before parting with your money or financial and personal information.”

The impact of these crimes is devastating, as three in ten (29%) say that being victim of fraud has had a negative impact on their mental health, such as by impacting their confidence, resulting in heightened feelings of anxiety or leading them to seek professional support.

To help build confidence and to better protect ourselves from this threat, Take Five has launched a ScamSceptible tool, an easy quiz to check our susceptibility to fraud, giving tailored advice to users depending on their ScamSceptible score.

An individual’s ScamSceptibility is defined as how susceptible someone might be to a scammer’s tactics on a given day. In certain environments, on certain days, every person is ScamSceptible – something scammers know well.

Through five simple questions, the tool assesses some of the factors that can make you more susceptible to fraud and gives tips on what to do to stay safe.

It was developed with leading academic, Dr David Modic, who has dedicated his career to studying online deception, internet fraud and the psychology of persuasion. Use the ScamSceptible tool: https://www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/scamtest.

Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment. Stop and think. It could protect you and your money. To help people stay safe, the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign advice is to:

  • STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.


Notes to editor:

Detailed research findings – further statistics and regional or demographic breakdowns can be provided:

Research conducted by Censuswide between 22nd March and 2nd April 2024, polling 3026 UK based adults who have been victim to financial fraud in the past 2 years. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

Research Question Answers % of respondents
Thinking about the last time you were defrauded, do you think any of the following factors contributed to you being scammed?


Top responses

Had a lot on their mind 20%
Distracted 19%
Feeling stressed/worried of their personal life 19%
Thinking about financial concerns 17%
Feeling stressed/worried at work 16%
Multi-tasking 15%
Tired 15%
Thinking about the last time you were a victim of financial fraud, what day of the week was it when you first fell victim to financial fraud?


Top two and lowest scoring answers


Wednesday 19%
Thursday 19%
Sunday 5%
Thinking about the last time you were a victim of financial fraud, what time of day did it take place?


Afternoon 43%
Evening 27%
Morning 19%
After you realised you’d been defrauded, how did you feel?


Top responses

Angry 38%
Upset 32%
Frustrated 31%
Stupid 28%
Worried 28%
Anxious 27%
Having been the victim of financial fraud, please select the statement(s) which best reflect how you feel now.


Top responses


Being victim to fraud has made me less trusting (in my relationships generally, with strangers and those I know) 33%
I am confident that I won’t be victim to fraud again, I’m more alert and aware of what to look out for 31%
Being victim to fraud has had a negative impact on my mental health day-to-day (such as impacting my confidence, resulting in heightened feelings of anxiety or led me to seeking professional support)



Additional notes:

  • Find out more about Take Five: https://www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/
  • Take Five Week is a flagship event for the whole fraud prevention community in delivering a concerted push to help everyone protect themselves from fraud and scams. Take Five Week runs from the 13-19 May 2024
  • Take Five to Stop Fraud is a national campaign that offers straightforward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud.
  • Take Five is run by UK Finance. UK Finance is the collective voice for the banking and finance industry. Representing more than 300 firms across the industry, it acts to enhance competitiveness, support customers and facilitate innovation.
  • Find out more about Dr David Modic: https://www.csap.cam.ac.uk/network/david-modic/

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Scam warning: Criminals may purport to be from Take Five, using our official branding on websites, social media posts, literature, on the phone or by text. Take Five doesn’t provide endorsement or approval for any products/services and would never call or text anyone.