More than 20 million have been targeted by financial scammers

by | Aug 10, 2021

Share this article

New research from The Openwork Partnership, one of the UK’s largest and longest established financial advice and investment networks, shows nearly two out of five adults have been targeted by financial scammers in the past year highlighting the need for increased advice.

Its nationwide study found 38% of adults – the equivalent of more than 20 million people – report a rise in financial scam attempts that they, or people they know, have faced in the past year with 17% reporting a significant increase. Just 4% of adults say the number of scam attempts has dropped in the past year. It’s not just scam attempts either, the research found. Around 13% of people questioned say they or people they know have lost money as a result of scams.

The increase in scam attempts is making people increasingly angry – around 45% of those questioned say they are frustrated that authorities such as the police, the Government and regulators appear to be doing nothing to stop scams, while 39% are outraged attempted crime goes unpunished.

Consumer groups and financial services industry groups including PIMFA are urging the Government to do more to tackle online fraud by including paid for online adverts in the new Online Safety Bill going through Parliament.


Analysis by consumer rights group Which? shows around £2.3 billion was lost to online scammers last year with cases of fraud reported to Action Fraud rising by a third to more than 410,000 – with the pandemic adding to the increase as more people went online for more activities.

The Openwork Partnership’s research found email is the way most people will be targeted by scammers – around 55% say they have received suspicious emails or know others who have been targeted. However, 52% say they or people they know have been targeted on the phone and 44% by text. Around 7% have received scam letters.

Mike Morrow, Chief Commercial Officer at The Openwork Partnership, commented:The Covid-19 pandemic has been a playground for financial scammers as more people have had to go online to carry out essential business.


“It is worrying to see the sheer scale of scamming with more than 20 million reporting an increase in attempts over the past year and sizeable numbers saying they or people they know have lost money.

“We would urge people to always take professional financial advice before making major decisions and always report attempted scams where possible.”

The table below shows the picture around the country. London has seen the biggest increase in scams and also the most people who have either been a victim or know someone who has been.


Region           How many have seen a rise in scams?         How many have been or know a scam victim?

London                                    48%                                                                      27%
North East                               44%                                                                      17%
Scotland                                  31%                                                                      13%
North West                              41%                                                                      12%
South West                              38%                                                                      11%
East Midlands                          39%                                                                      11%
South East                                35%                                                                      10%
West Midlands                         33%                                                                      10%
Northern Ireland                      42%                                                                       9%
Yorkshire & The Humber        31%                                                                       9%
East of England                       37%                                                                       7%
Wales                                        29%                                                                        4%

Share this article

Related articles

IFAM 121 | Navigating Choppy Waters | September 2023

IFAM 121 | Navigating Choppy Waters | September 2023

Summertime And ‘the livin’ is easy’ apparently. Well, that was according to Louis and Ella singing that fabulous song more years ago than even I can care to remember. However, as we wonder whatever happened to any decent summer weather here in the UK this year, the...

Trending articles

IFA Talk logo

IFA Talk is our flagship podcast, designed to fit perfectly into your busy life, bringing the latest insight, analysis, news and interviews to you, wherever you are.

IFA Talk Podcast - listen to the latest episode