13.7 Million Brits Worried About Being Scammed

13.7 Million Brits Worried About Being Scammed


  • Three quarters of people aged 55 or over are concerned about being caught out by scams
  • One in five say they have fallen victim to an attempted scam in the last year
  • Yet almost 40% admit to not knowing how any of the most common scams work
  • Santander launches annual fraud awareness campaign


ALMOST three quarters (74%) of older people in Britain are concerned about being scammed, equivalent to 13.7 million1, according to new research2 by Santander. The survey also reveals that one in five people aged 55 or over believe they have been victims of an attempted scam in the last 12 months.

For those who thought they had been targeted: 70% said they had received an email which they thought was a scam, 36% had been called by a potential fraudster and 13% had been sent a scam in the post.

Yet the research also shows that over a third (36%) of people aged 55 or over admit they have no knowledge of how any of the most common types of scams work. 88% are unfamiliar with pension scams, 69% are unaware of how online fraud works, 54% said they were unfamiliar with telephone scams like vishing and half admitted to not understanding the way internet banking scams such as phishing work.

While many people aged 55 or over are vigilant about personal security, 86% always check they’ve locked the door before leaving the house, and just over 70% make sure they’ve not been short changed after a cash purchase, when it comes to keeping themselves safe from scams they are not always so careful.

A quarter of those surveyed by Santander admit they don’t always check their online bank account for unusual payments3, 27% admit they don’t always shield their PIN at the cashpoint4, while a third say they would share their personal details over the phone5. Only one third (32%) say they have taken steps to safeguard against fraud in the last 12 months.

Karen Tyler, Head of Fraud at Santander, said:Scams against individuals can be devastating, it is therefore so important that people are aware of the different types of scams and take steps to protect themselves.

 “The research shows that many older people are worried about being targeted and we would strongly advise them to pick up one of our leaflets, visit our website or speak to our staff in branch.”

The study also surveyed the children of people aged 55 or over, revealing two thirds believe their parents are at risk of being scammed, with most concerned about their parents being targeted via phone scams (23%), email scams (9%) and when using a cashpoint (8%).

However, many also admit to a low understanding of scams themselves with 51% acknowledging that they don’t understand how debit/credit card fraud works, and 52% not understanding how internet banking scams work.

This week Santander launches its annual initiative to raise awareness of some of the most common scams. In particular telephone fraud and the new spoofing technique -where a telephone number is “spoofed” to appear to be genuine – as well as pension liberation scams which have seen an increase since the new pension reforms came into effect in April this year.

New leaflets and magnetic advice cards will be available in branch, and staff will be given additional training to advise customers and help to prevent cases occurring. The bank will also be giving tips and advice such as to never give out security details or transfer funds for “security reasons’ in order to help people stay safe and protect themselves from being scammed.

Broadcaster Peter Sissons, who is supporting the initiative, said: “Every year thousands of people, particularly the older generation, are targeted by fraudsters. It’s worrying that so many people are unaware of the most common types of scams. Santander’s campaign will help raise awareness of these scams and help people to keep their money safe.”

The research also showed that almost one in five (16%) of Brits aged 55 or over who have a pension plan admit to not really understanding how the new pension reforms impact them, with over 1 in 10 (11%) saying that they don’t have enough information on what their options are now.


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