More than half of UK adults (56%) have or know someone who has received a suspicious communication in the last 12 months, according to research from Canada Life.
This equates to 29.6m people across the UK.
Insurance giant Canada Life UK surveyed 2,000 Brits and also found the majority (57%) of these cases can be described as “phishing scams”, when a fraudster attempts to imitate a legitimate company or person to secure important information from the victim.
Crypto scams are also becoming common, with around one-in-six reporting they or someone they know has received one in the last 12 months.
When asked specifically about pension scams, a fifth of UK adults (22%) said they had been approached by phone, text or email offering free pension advice in the last three months, up from 19% when this was previously asked in October 2020.
Among those that fell victim, or knew someone who had, many cite a negative impact on mental health and attitudes towards others because of it:
▪ Falling victim to scams can take a toll on your mental wellbeing 83%;
▪ Feel foolish for falling for it 63%; and
▪ Their trust in people has completely gone 49%.
Additionally, many victims express little hope in getting money back from a scam (59%).
Over two fifths (43%) of UK adults have become increasingly worried about scams, while a third (34%) say they don’t know what services they can use to help protect themselves against this.
A similar proportion (32%) don’t know how to prevent fraudsters or scammers from targeting them, and 29% wouldn’t know who to contact if they were scammed.
Andrew Tully, technical director at Canada Life, said: “Aspiring fraudsters will stop at nothing to separate innocent people from their hard-earned cash, sometimes using incredibly manipulative and sophisticated techniques which can easily catch you at an unguarded moment.
“Falling prey to a scam can be utterly devastating, not only for the individual involved but also for their family and friends. Futures and livelihoods can be snatched away in the blink of an eye so it’s essential we work harder as an industry to highlight where help and support can be found. Improved education on how to spot a scam and where to report them will also be essential if we are stand any hope in surmounting this scamming Everest.
“With families trying to make ends meet as the cost of living grows, an offer of money or easy access to your pension early might seem the perfect opportunity to dig yourself out of trouble – at face value.
“Sadly, it’s highly likely it will be scammers, so be aware and follow the simple rule of thumb – if it appears too good to be true, it inevitably is. Simply walk away, hang up, or delete the email or text.”