Scams  

Victims of fraud increasingly less likely to get money back

Victims of fraud increasingly less likely to get money back

Victims of financial scams are less likely to get their money back now than they were a year ago, despite fewer people falling for fraudsters' tricks, a survey has found.

According to Interactive Investor’s annual retirement survey, published today (October 13), of 10,000 people surveyed 9 per cent reported being a victim of a financial scam this year, down from 13 per cent the year before.

But savers were finding it increasingly difficult to get their money back if they were tricked by scammers.

Interactive Investor found only a third (34 per cent) of scam victims had received their money back – a drop of 9 percentage points from 2020. 

More than half (56 per cent) had not had their money returned, and 11 per cent were still waiting. 

The firm raised concerns that although people may be becoming more ‘scam smart’, and the industry may be getting better at stopping scams, the responsibility for recognising fraud was pushed increasingly towards the victim.

Moira O’Neill, head of personal finance at Interactive Investor, said: “It would be concerning if the introduction of new measures to stop fraud resulted in the burden of blame shifting to innocent victims.”

The survey found the share of scams related to investment fraud had increased, from 32 per cent in 2020 to 42 per cent in 2021.

Fraud related to self-invested personal pensions had also increased from 2 per cent to 8 per cent but other pension fraud had decreased slightly from 22 per cent to 20 per cent.

In May, the government announced measures to tackle some online scams in its Online Safety bill but stopped short of including fraud via advertising, emails or cloned websites.

The Treasury and Work and Pensions committees then wrote to the prime minister urging him to reconsider including paid-for online advertisements in the bill.

The government said there would be a separate consultation on online advertising regulation later in the year.

But after initial criticisms of the bill’s coverage, Johnson said at the Liaison Committee on July 7 he was “more than happy to look at it” if bodies felt it was “in some way inadequate”.

Meanwhile, some of the big tech companies have made moves to voluntarily crack down on scams.

For instance, from August Google required financial services advertisers on its platforms to show they are authorised by the FCA or qualify for one of its limited exemptions.

amy.austin@ft.com

What do you think about the issues raised by this story? Email us on FTAletters@ft.com to let us know