Scale of online pension scams revealed

Scale of online pension scams revealed

Over one million people aged 45 and above have fallen victim to online email scams, according to research by Aviva.

Aviva’s findings suggest almost three in four (73%) over-45s with internet access have been targeted by an email scam, equivalent to 20.61m people. Of these, 6% or 1.24m people reported falling victim to an online approach.

The research also revealed that one in five in this group feel vulnerable under the march of technology, as the experience of being targeted via email is 22 per cent more common among this age group than by phone.

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Findings were extrapolated from Aviva's Real Retirement Report, which has been running since 2010 and totals 25,990 interviews among the population over the age of 55 years, including 1,199 in October 2016 for the latest wave of tracking data (Q3 2016).

At present, the government is investigating a series of measures to tackle pension fraud, including whether to limit the right of individuals to transfer their pension to some occupational schemes.

In November this year, the government confirmed it will ban pensions cold calling, after a parliamentary petition launched by a financial adviser put the issue into the spotlight two months before.

Aviva's findings suggest over 60 per cent of over 45 year olds, equivalent to almost 17 million in total, have been targeted by fraudsters via phone calls, with 7 per cent of those - 1.19m - saying they were a victim of phone scammers.

According to Aviva, with over 20m people targeted by email scams compared with 17m via phone, it means there is a 22 per cent higher chance of over-45s being subject to an online approach rather than by phone.

Additionally, the widespread nature of email scams also means more people have been a victim of such approaches than of phone scammers.

The report noted older generations are more at risk, with over 75 year olds most likely to be targeted by fraudsters via email at 76 per cent compared to 73 per cent of over 45 year olds.

This is true also of telephone scams, with over 75s most likely to be targeted at 69 per cent versus 60 per cent of over 45s.

Aviva said it came as no surprise that older groups are most likely to feel vulnerable as a result of the growing influence of digital technology in day-to-day life.

A total of 24 per cent of over-65s feel this way, along with nearly 19 per cent of those aged 45-64.

The research also found among all over 45 year olds, nearly one in six - 16 per cent, feel excluded or left behind by technology whilst 27 per cent feel technology has not been designed with their age group in mind.

A total of one in seven - 14 per cent - feel their fear of technology holds them back from enjoying the benefits.

Despite such reservations, Aviva's findings highlight that nearly seven in ten - 69 per cent - of over 45 year olds believe that technology has made their life easier, rising to three in four - 74 per cent - of 65-74s.