One in five people are particularly vulnerable to becoming the victims of a scam, the trading watchdog has warned.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said around 20pc of the population were vulnerable to scammers, with people who had previously been victims consistently more likely to respond to a scam again.
It added that a good background knowledge of the subject of a scam offer, such as previous investment experience, actually increased people’s risk of being a victim as it made them over confident.
The research into scams, which was carried out by the University of Exeter, also found that the victims were in general not poor decision makers, and often had successful businesses or professional careers.
But those who fell victim to frauds tended to be unduly open to persuasion by others and less able to control emotions, such as excitement and greed.