Millions in UK scammed during pandemic, Aegon survey finds

Almost three million people in the UK have fallen for a financial scam after being approached by a fraudster since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to new research from Aegon.

The pension provider suggested this is just the “tip of the iceberg” as it claimed a fifth of the population have reported they have had dealings with someone trying to con them during the pandemic.

Aegon conducted a survey among 2,000 people during May to look into the behaviour of savers and investors, which also suggested that more than five million people across the UK have doubts about whether a past dealing was actually an attempt to scam them. Aegon said this highlights the importance to remain vigilant to potential scam approaches.

The survey figures also revealed that younger generations have been more affected by financial fraud during the crisis, with one in 10 (11%) of 18-34 year olds admitting to being scammed, compared to just 1% of over-55s.

Aegon head of pensions, Kate Smith, commented: “When you look at the figures of the number of people affected by financial fraud, it hits home how horrific the scale of the issue is. We all need to talk about this issue to make more people aware of the very real dangers of either responding to approaches or signing up to things without really understanding what is being entered into, or knowing who they are dealing with.

“The coronavirus crisis lockdown measures have changed every element of our normal working, entertainment and social patterns, meaning we’re spending more time online. This unfortunately can be a big benefit to scammers.

“We also know scammers are adept at reinventing their tactics. It’s easy to think that we need to be on our guard from cold calling or phishing attempts, but mounting evidence shows scammers don’t rely on these methods alone. They can just as easily turn their hand to creating convincing websites or another online presence, which people can inadvertently fall prey to when searching online.”

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