Fraud victims soar during pandemic

Around one in five adults have either been a victim of a pension scam since COVID-19 hit the UK, or know someone who has.

Opinium polled 2,000 adults in the UK on behalf of Canada Life in the month up to 5 May 2020, when the coronavirus outbreak was at its peak.

Of those, 19% had been victims of pension fraud, 35% cited insurance scams, and 60% were duped by bank-related cons.

One in ten respondents either had been conned or knew someone who had been scammed out of more than £1,000. The average victim lost £566.

More than half (55%) said the experience took a toll on their mental health, while 48% said the scams were so convincing they were hard to spot.

Andrew Tully, technical director at Canada Life, said:

"The pandemic has provided a fertile opportunity for lowlifes to prey on the vulnerable and those who are anxious about their health and their wealth.

"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.

"Sadly it's highly likely it will be scammers, so 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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