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However, it appears to suggest fraudsters may be pursuing a higher volume of lower value scams in the current economic environment.

Liz Ziegler, fraud prevention director at Lloyds Bank, said: “Fraudsters will ruthlessly adapt to any changes in consumer behaviour and, with the increased cost of living putting more pressure on people’s finances, the recent surge in advance fee scams targeting those on low incomes or with a poor credit history is alarming.

“The important thing to remember is that a genuine lender will always conduct thorough credit checks prior to agreeing a loan and won’t ask for an upfront payment before releasing the funds. 

“If you’re concerned in any way about your finances there are lots of reputable organisations that can help, and it always makes sense to speak to your bank first.”

Britons are always encouraged to do their research to ensure they are dealing with a real company, and can check the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website for more details.