PEOPLE in Essex are more likely to be victims of online bank fraud or consumer fraud than any other area of the UK, research shows.

The consumer group Which? obtained police data from Action Fraud, the main reporting body for scams in the UK, to map out hotspots of reported fraud as well as looking at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) crime survey data.

Data revealed the number of reports per 10,000 people in Essex for bank card and online bank fraud, as well as retail and consumer fraud.

The figures are from last year.

For online bank fraud there were 12.2 cases per 10,000, compared to the UK average of 5.4.

For retail fraud there were 12.7 cases per 10,000, compared to the UK average of 11.3.

Which? also found the typical age of fraud victims varies depending on the type of con.

The average age of someone making a report to Action Fraud over the past two years is 49.

On average, victims of rental fraud, where prospective tenants are typically tricked into paying a deposit, are aged 33 - reflecting the younger age of many people living in the rental sector.

The average age of victims of both ticket fraud and online shopping or auction fraud is 37.

Older people are more likely to report being targeted by bogus investment schemes. The average victim is aged 64.

They are also more likely to report being tricked by recovery scams, where they are tricked by criminals who claim they can help recover lost funds. The average age of victims is 65.

Jenny Ross, Which? money editor, said: "Fraud is spiralling out of control, so any measures that can help combat this worsening crime - such as the introduction of vital name check security for bank transfers - should be quickly introduced.

"The Government must set out an ambitious agenda - with real accountability - to finally tackle the growing threat from scams, which are having a devastating impact on the lives of victims."