Pension fraud third most common type of financial scam during Covid-19

Pension fraud has been the third most commonly occurring type of financial scam during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to research from Canada Life.

The firm found that one in 10 UK adults have either been a victim of a financial scam or know someone who has been since the pandemic hit.

Of this 10 per cent, almost one in five (19 per cent) reported that the scam they had been a victim of or observed was pension related.

This made pension scams the third most commonly observed, after banking (60 per cent) and insurance (35 per cent) scams.

Canada Life has seen an increase in scam activity, with 17 per cent of non-retirees saying that they had been approached with free pension review offers, compared to 12 per cent in August 2019.

Of those who have been approached with pensions ‘advice’ in the last three months, 43 per cent were more worried about scams, and 25 per cent felt increasingly vulnerable.

Commenting on the findings, Canada Life technical director, Andrew Tully, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has provided a fertile opportunity for ‘lowlifes’ to prey on not only the vulnerable but also people who are worried and anxious about both their health and their wealth.

“With families trying to make ends meet as the economy dips, an offer of money or easy access to your pension early might seem the perfect opportunity to dig yourself out of trouble - at face value.

“Sadly, it’s highly likely it will be scammers, so be aware and follow the simple rule of thumb - if it appears too good to be true, it inevitably is.”

The company’s research found that 75 per cent of those that had been approached with suspicious messages had received an email, while 32 per cent had received a phone call and 24 per cent had been sent text messages.

On average, UK adults have received three suspicious or fraudulent messages.

People were reportedly more anxious about scams during the pandemic, with 13 per cent saying they felt more vulnerable and 26 per cent feeling increasingly concerned.

Many also did not feel adept to deal with scams, with a quarter saying they didn’t know how to prevent fraudsters from targeting them, 30 per cent didn’t know which services they can use to protect themselves and 30 per cent wouldn’t know who to contact if they were scammed.

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