A feeling of being utterly alone can come on quite suddenly, or it can be triggered by a life-changing event like bereavement, divorce, unemployment or a moving to a new home.
Fortunately, most people don't feel isolated for too long, but recent research by Nationwide* has found that just over one in ten of us have experienced bouts of loneliness that last more than a year.
As if this isn't distressing enough, the research also found that those suffering from long-term loneliness are four times more likely to become a victim of a financial scam than those who don't feel isolated.
When people have only had themselves for company for a long time, they can become more willing to trust strangers, whether in person, over the phone or online. As a result, they can be more likely to open themselves to exploitation by fraudsters.
Now the link between loneliness and fraud has been recognised, a lot is being done to help protect vulnerable people and prevent them from getting into financial problems.