woman at computer

Barclays urges public to 'trust their gut' as purchase scams rise 70 per cent

02 November 2022
  • Barclays data reveals that the number of people falling victim to purchase scams is up by 70 per cent.
  • Investment scams make up almost a third (31 per cent) of all money lost to scammers.
  • With 70 per cent of people ignoring their gut feeling in situations involving money, Barclays has partnered with Dr Megan Rossi, Gut Health Expert, to help raise awareness around how trusting your gut can protect you from being scammed.

2nd November 2022: New research from Barclays reveals that 70 per cent of people ignore their gut feeling in situations involving money, leaving them more vulnerable to scammers1. This comes as recent Barclays data shows that purchase scams – the most common type of scam, where people buy goods which never arrive or aren’t as advertised – have risen by 70 per cent, year on year2.

As we head toward the festive season, and major shopping days, such as Black Friday, Barclays is urging people to take a moment and listen to their gut when making decisions. Especially as three quarters (75 per cent) of people have noticed an increase in suspicious or scam related activity in the last month and almost half (47 per cent) have been targeted by a scam by email and/or text in the last few months1.

What’s more, Barclays data shows that investment scams, where you’re invited to invest in something that isn’t what it seems or doesn’t exist, are the highest value, and account for just under a third (31 per cent) of all money lost to scammers2. Despite this, research shows that a huge 85 per cent of people choose to ignore their gut feeling when investing1.

Barclays has partnered with gut health expert Dr Megan Rossi, to raise awareness of the important role the gut can play in helping people to identify if they are being scammed and provide useful advice for how to identify when your gut is trying to tell you something.

Dr Megan Rossi (PhD, Rd), Gut Health Expert, says: “Your gut and brain are in constant two-way communication. This is known as the gut:brain axis, and is made possible thanks to the impressive web of hundreds of millions of nerves that connect the two.

“That science-backed feeling in your gut is often based on intuition, and has the power to keep you safe, in more ways than one. In fact, Barclays research shows that listening to your gut might have the power to help protect against fraud and scams risks that many face each day.”

To support this knowledge gap when it comes to spotting the signs, we’ve devised a simple mnemonic that can help remind people of what to look out for when their gut is trying to tell them something: S.C.A.M

  • Sweating
  • Chest tightness
  • Aching (head or stomach)
  • Mind fog.

The recent study by Barclays also shows the reasons people might ignore their gut feeling: a third (33 per cent) question their gut feeling if they are under time pressure, and another third (34 per cent) say they would re-consider their gut feeling based on the size or value of the opportunity1.

Ross Martin, Head of Digital Safety at Barclays, says: “Too often people ignore their gut feeling when making important decisions, which unfortunately can make them more vulnerable to scams. Scammers will play on your emotions and try to instil a sense of time pressure, or create a perceived scarcity – and therefore value – when making a purchase or investment.

“You should never feel rushed into buying or investing in something. If something sounds suspicious or doesn't feel right, speak to someone you trust – a family member, friend or your bank – for a second opinion.”

For more information, please visit: www.barclays.co.uk/scams/


For further information, please contact Ismail.Jan@barclays.com / 07851 037905

Notes to Editors

1. Mortar consumer research study of 2,000 participants, August 2022.

2. Barclays data of reported scams July – September 2022.

About Barclays

Barclays is a British universal bank. We are diversified by business, by different types of customer and client, and geography. Our businesses include consumer banking and payments operations around the world, as well as a top-tier, full service, global corporate and investment bank, all of which are supported by our service company which provides technology, operations and functional services across the Group. For further information about Barclays, please visit our website home.barclays.