Around one in six individuals said they or someone they knew had received a crypto scam in the last 12 months.
According to research from Canada Life, scammers are mainly relying on email (65 per cent), although over two fifths (46 per cent) were via a text message and about two fifths (38 per cent) via a cold call.
When asked specifically about pension scams, a fifth of UK adults (22 per cent) said they had been approached by phone, text or email offering free pension advice or a free pensions review, investment opportunities or a tax refund in the past three months.
This is up from 19 per cent in October 2020.
Canada Life technical director Andrew Tully, 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.”
The research, which was conducted by Opinium on 2,000 UK adults between April 5 and April 8, found more than half of UK adults (56 per cent) have or know someone who has received suspicious communication in the past 12 months, equating to around 29.6mn people across the UK.
Canada Life said the majority of these cases can be described as “phishing scams” (57 per cent), when a fraudster attempts to imitate a legitimate company or person to secure important information from the victim.
Tully said: “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 to stand any hope in surmounting this scamming Everest.”
Victims are getting younger
The research also found that nearly a fifth (21 per cent) fell victim to the scam, either themselves or someone they know did. Of those aged 18-34 years old, this rises to just under two fifths (39 per cent).
The average amount of money lost to the scams was almost £300 (£294) – rising to almost £450 (£448.50) among younger people.
From those that fell victim, or knew someone who had, many cite a negative impact on mental wellbeing (83 per cent), feeling foolish (63 per cent) and a loss of trust in people (49 per cent).
Additionally, many victims said they had little hope in getting money back from a scam (59 per cent).
Over two fifths (43 per cent) of UK adults have become increasingly worried about scams, whilst a third (34 per cent) said they don’t know what services they can use to help protect themselves against this.
A similar proportion (32 per cent) are unaware of how to prevent fraudsters or scams from targeting them, and about three in ten (29 per cent) wouldn’t know who to contact if they were scammed.