Nearly a fifth of retirees say they have fallen for a financial scam – survey

Around one in five (17.5%) retirees has been the victim of a financial scam, a survey has found.

Legitimate-looking websites, promises of high returns and trustworthy-sounding telephone callers were common reasons for being tricked, according to the findings published by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Of those who have so far avoided falling victim, the majority (63%) are concerned they may be duped by scams, according to the survey of 2,000 retirees aged 55 to 75.

The FSCS, which acts as a safety net for consumers when financial institutions go bust, suggested people should visit the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s ScamSmart website for advice on how to avoid scams.

The FCA also has a warning list of firms and a financial services register that people can check.

Caroline Rainbird, FSCS’s CEO, said: “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.”

Two scam hotlines have been set up this week to help people if they fear they are being scammed.

Nationwide Building Society has launched a helpline – 0800 030 4057 – that its members can call.

And Stop Scams UK is spearheading a new 159 number enabling people to call their bank directly if they receive a suspect call or request.

Banks that are taking part in the scheme include Barclays, Lloyds (including Halifax and Bank of Scotland), NatWest (including Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank), Santander and Starling Bank.

TSB helped develop the 159 scheme and plans to implement the number from January 2022.