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11m savers contacted by scammers while 3m fall victim

22 June 2020

Almost 3 million people in the UK have fallen victim to a financial scam since the start of Covid-19, as the outbreak created a “perfect storm” for opportunist scammers.

According to research by Aegon, a fifth of the population, or 11 million people, said they have had dealings with someone trying to con them, with 2.8 million falling for the scam.

A further 5 million people said they may have been approached, but could not be sure it was a fraudster.

Aegon’s research showed that younger people were more likely to be scammed, with 11% of 18-34 years old admitting to being tricked, compared to only 1% of over-55s.

The investment group said the Coronavirus crisis had created the perfect storm for fraudsters as they look to “exploit people’s vulnerabilities and squeeze on personal finances.”

Kate Smith, head of pensions, Aegon (pictured), said: “When you look at the figures of the number of people affected by financial fraud, it hits home how horrific the scale of the issue is. We all need to talk about this issue to make more people aware of the very real dangers of either responding to approaches or signing up to things without really understanding what is being entered into or knowing who they are dealing with.

“The coronavirus crisis lockdown measures have changed every element of our normal working, entertainment and social patterns, meaning we’re spending more time online. This unfortunately can be a big benefit to scammers.”

Smith warned that scammers are adept at reinventing their tactics, no longer relying on cold calling or phishing attempts alone.

She added: “They can just as easily turn their hand to creating convincing websites or another online presence, which people can inadvertently fall prey to when searching online.”

Aegon urged people to be alert, beware of websites offering to unlock pensions or change pension arrangements and to never give out personal information, including bank details.

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