One in five retirees have fallen victim to financial scams

Retirees say they are being duped by legitimate-looking websites and claims of high returns.

New research from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) suggests that close to a fifth (17.5%) of retirees have been a victim of a financial scam.

The research – conducted among retirees between the age of 55 and 75 – found that common reasons for being duped included the website or online advert looking legitimate (28%), the high returns on offer (19%) and the telephone caller sounding trustworthy (18%).

Of those who have so far avoided becoming a victim of a financial scam, the majority (63%) have an ongoing concern about becoming one. More than three-quarters (76%) said this was due to reading about scams in the media, while almost a quarter (24%) explained that someone they knew had fallen victim to a scam. When looking at respondents that were not concerned about becoming a scam victim, men (57%) were more likely to think they would not fall for one compared to women (49%).

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) data suggests that scams activity is increasing, with the regulator issuing over a thousand (1,204) scam warnings in 2020, an increase of 100% on 2019.1. FSCS is alerted several times a week on average to instances of scams that impersonate FSCS or falsely claim FSCS protection for investments and strives to act against fraudulent activity whenever possible.

For consumers to best protect themselves against scams, FSCS recommends:

  1. Always checking the details of who you are dealing with. Visit the FCA’s ScamSmart website for helpful advice on how to avoid scams. From there you can visit the FCA warning list; a list of firms operating without the FCA’s authorisation. You can also visit the FCA’s Financial Services Register to double-check the details of any provider who may contact you.
  2. If someone gets in touch claiming to work for FSCS and you are in any doubt, contact FSCS directly.
  3. Be aware that FSCS will never ask consumers for money.

Caroline Rainbird, FSCS's CEO, said: "Scams are becoming more commonplace, better coordinated and harder to spot.

“We are helping to tackle scams where we can, for example by monitoring and reporting scams to the financial regulator, the FCA, but given the scale of the issue, consumers need to act as the first line of defence.

“By remaining vigilant and asking themselves, is the provider genuine, and is the person they’re speaking to who they say they are, consumers will be able to better protect themselves from this growing threat.”

More information about how to avoid scams and fraudsters can be found on FSCS’s website, and customers can check their money is protected using FSCS’s checker tools.


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Max Kelly | e: m: 07590 120533