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Men ‘most vulnerable to investment scams’

Written by: Emma Lunn
There are notable gender differences when it comes to the susceptibility of financial scams, according to a survey by Interactive Investor.

The investment platform’s Great British Retirement Survey 2020 found that women are more susceptible to current account fraud but men are most likely to be fooled by investment scams.

The survey found that 13% of respondents had fallen victim to financial scams, rising to 18% in the 72 to77 age category, and 20% amongst those aged over 77.

It found that women are less likely to have experienced a financial scam than men (9% versus 15%).

More than a third (35%) of men admitted to having been the victim of investment fraud, compared to 22% of women. However, when it comes to current account fraud, more women than men said they had fallen victim (27% versus 21%).

Myron Jobson, personal finance campaigner at Interactive Investor, said: “Financial scams tend to be indiscriminate in their targeting, and while we all have to be on our guard, the risks seem to increase with age. There’s some gender differences, too. Men might be more susceptible to investment fraud because, on average at least, they tend to invest more. Whatever the reason, it is important to take care with your money and look out for the warning signs.

“The city watchdog reports that it received over 24,000 reports of unauthorised activity and published over 1,000 consumer alerts in 2020 – an 82% increase on the previous year, illustrating that the Covid-19 pandemic created a perfect storm for unscrupulous individuals. With the Covid crisis still ongoing, the worry is the internal alarm bells warning people of ‘too good to be true’ money making opportunities is increasingly becoming muted among those who have suffered a loss of income out of desperation.”

How to avoid financial scams

Cold calling relating to pensions has been banned since 2019, but that hasn’t stopped unscrupulous individuals from using this method to scam people out of their cash. No reputable pensions firm would call you out of the blue to suggest you transfer your retirement nest egg to a better deal. When in doubt, simply hang up.

Also beware of things that signal illegitimacy. If the firm doesn’t allow you to call back, it is most likely because it is a fraudulent enterprise. Also beware of firms that only list mobile phone numbers or a PO box address on their website.

Before you commit to any offers, make sure you do extensive independent research on the company and make sure you check all the information yourself – don’t just take their word for it.

Schemes that offer to unlock your pension before age 55 should be avoided at all cost.  These schemes, also known as ‘pension liberation’ and ‘pension loans’, are trying to get you to break the law. They are likely to result in you paying huge administration costs and big tax bills, in some cases leaving people with no savings for retirement.

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