Fear growing around COVID-19 related financial scams

Fear around financial scams has increased over the past three months with 36% of UK adults indicating that their worry levels have increased, new data from Canada Life has revealed.

The latest figure compares to 26% when the financial services firm last ran the data in May.

Canada Life suggested its analysis reveals the situation is getting worse as the pandemic continues, with an average six suspicious or fraudulent messages being received by people since March – up from three suspicious contacts reported in May.

Scamming activity has led to 11% of UK adults either knowing someone or admitting they have fallen for a scam since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those who have been scammed, the financial services firm found that people had lost an average £587, although nearly one in ten adults has lost over £1000.

The research, based on a study amongst 2,000 people, also revealed the most common type of scams people have fallen victim to are banking related ones, with 38% reporting this type of scam, while pension related fraud is also common (28%). The firm indicated that 22% of victims cited an insurance scam as the cause of their scam, followed by romance scams (15%).

The Government’s Track and Trace service has also been used as a platform to scam people with 15% of people reporting they were either a victim or knew someone who had fallen for this type of fraud.

Canada Life technical director, Andrew Tully, commented: “The scamming frenzy appears to be gathering pace as fraudsters use the cover of COVID-19 to prey on innocent victims. Falling prey to scams hits victims financially, but there are also hidden costs with people’s ability to trust others shattered, and for some, a detrimental affect on mental health.

“Despite the public message campaigns and the ban on cold calling, the scammers are either simply ignoring the law or using increasingly sophisticated ways of finding convincing ways to con people.

“The rise of romance scams and using the Track and Trace service only serves to show we all need to be vigilant, scam aware and follow the simple rule of thumb – if it appears too good to be true, it inevitably is. Simply walk away, hang up, or delete the email or text.”

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