Nearly two in five people targeted by financial scammer, study finds

Thirty-eight per cent of adults in the UK have been targeted by financial scammers in the past year, according to new findings from The OpenWork Partnership.

The financial advice and investment network suggested the figure is equivalent to more than 20 million people and said its findings highlight the need for increased advice.

The OpenWork Partnership’s research, based on a nationwide study among 2,001 UK adults in July, found that 17% of adults also reported a significant increase in financial scam, while just 4% said the number of scam attempts has dropped in the past year.

Around 45% of respondents said they are frustrated that authorities such as the police, the government and regulators appear to be doing nothing to stop scams, while 39% indicated they are outraged that attempted crime goes unpunished.

Email is the way that most people have been targeted by scammers, according to the research, with around 55% of people stating they have received suspicious emails or know others who have been targeted. However, 52% said they or people they know have been targeted on the phone, and 44% by text. Around 7% have also received scam letters.

The findings come as consumer groups across the financial services industry continue to urge the government to do more to tackle online fraud by including paid for online adverts in the new Online Safety Bill going through Parliament.

Commenting on the study, The Openwork Partnership chief commercial officer, Mike Morrow, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has been a playground for financial scammers as more people have had to go online to carry out essential business.

“It is worrying to see the sheer scale of scamming with more than 20 million reporting an increase in attempts over the past year and sizeable numbers saying they or people they know have lost money.

“We would urge people to always take professional financial advice before making major decisions and always report attempted scams where possible.”

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