Half of all UK adults affected by scams

Half of all UK adults affected by scams

Around half (51 per cent) of UK adults have or know someone who has received a suspicious communication in the last 12 months. 

Research from Canada Life showed this equates to 27mn people and most of these cases are ‘phising scams’, where a fraudster attempts to imitate a legitimate company or person to secure important information from the victim. 

The insurance and financial services company surveyed 2,000 UK adults in August for the research. 

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In total, 21 per cent of respondents who have, or knew someone who has been contacted by scammers, said they lost money. 

The research found that young people were more likely to know someone who has lost money, and that younger generations are losing more when they do fall victim to a scam.

Among 18 to 34 year old who have, or knew someone who has, this increased to almost half (46 per cent) who said they lost money. 

The average loss to scams for themselves or someone they knew was around £207, with this amount almost doubling to £361 for those aged 18-34 years old. For those aged over 55, this was £112.

Canada Life technical director, Andrew Tully said that while in a cost-of-living crisis it may be all too tempting  to try and make a quick buck, people should “run a mile from get rich quick schemes”.

In particular, the research found crypto scams are becoming increasingly common, with one in five reporting they or someone they know has received one in the last 12 months.

“Scammers are a scourge of our society and continue to come up with devious ways to come between us and our hard-earned cash,” Tully said.

“With crypto scams becoming more common, perhaps it’s unsurprising that more younger generations are being caught out. Not only are 18 to 34 year olds more likely to fall victim to a scam than older generations, but they are also set to lose more financially.”

“It might be the case of ‘bet big, win big’, but sadly, the reality is ‘bet big, lose big’. Scammers are often already heading for the door before you realise what is happening,” he added.

Meanwhile, pension transfer scam communications account for almost one in ten (8 per cent) of contacts, while romance scams or dating scams are similar at 11 per cent.

Tully said: “With many families struggling to make ends meet, and as the cost-of-living squeeze tightens, offering easy access to your pension might seem the perfect opportunity to dig yourself out of trouble. The reality is you can’t access your pension savings before the age of 55, so it’s very likely it will be scammers.”

His advice to consumers is to follow the simple rule of thumb: “if it appears too good to be true, it inevitably is”.

Earlier this month, the Financial Conduct Authority's executive director said she expects said financial crime to become “even more prolific” during the cost of living crisis.