Beware the Online Scams

Beware the Online Scams

More than a million over-45s have fallen victim to email scams, according to Aviva’s latest Real Retirement Report, which also highlights that the experience of being targeted via email is 22% more common among this age group than by phone.

With the Government currently consulting on a cold calling ban to “cut off a key source of pension scams”, the findings stress the importance of tackling digital security as the industry moves towards greater online management with the increase in  online banking services.

The findings suggest 73% over-45s with Internet access have been targeted by an email scam, equivalent to 20.61m people.  Of these, 6% or 1.24m people reported falling victim to an online approach.

With over 20m people targeted by email scams compared with 17m via phone, it means there is a 22% higher chance of over-45s being subject to an online approach rather than by phone. The widespread nature of email scams also means more people have been a victim of such approaches than of phone scammers.

Older generations are most at risk, with over-75s most likely to be targeted by fraudsters via email as well as telephone. The over-75s are also most likely to have fallen into the trap of an email scam, with 8% of those targeted saying they were a victim.

Table 1: Over-45s targeted by and fallen victim to phone/email scams by age group

  All 45-64s 65-74s 75+
Email scams
% targeted 73% 71% 75% 76%
% of those who have fallen victim 6% 6% 4% 8%
Number targeted 20,629,530 11,820,409 3,423,466 4,006,275
Number who have fallen victim 1,237,772 709,225 136,939 320,502
Telephone scams
 % targeted   60%   54%   66%   69%
 % of those who have fallen victim   7%   8%   5%   6%
 Number targeted   16,955,778   8,990,170   4,184,236   3,637,276
 Number who have fallen victim   1,186,904   719,214   209,212   218,237

Population data sourced from the Office for National Statistics

It therefore comes as no surprise that older age groups are most likely to feel more vulnerable as a result of the growing influence of digital technology in day-to-day life. Nearly one in four over-65s feel this way, along with nearly one in five of those aged 45-64.

Among all over-45s, nearly one in six feel excluded or left behind by technology, while 27% feel technology has not been designed with their age group in mind. One in seven feel their fear of technology holds them back from enjoying the benefits.

Table 2: Over-45s’ attitudes towards technology by age group

All 45-64 65-74 75+
Feel technology has made life easier 69% 68% 74% 66%
Feel digital technologies are becoming easier to use 46% 49% 42% 40%
Feel digital technologies are becoming too complicated 38% 32% 42% 51%
Feel technology is not designed with their age group in mind 27% 21% 30% 43%
Feel technology makes them feel vulnerable 21% 19% 24% 24%
Feel excluded or left behind by technology 16% 14% 17% 21%
Feel their fear of technology holds them back from enjoying the benefits 14% 13% 15% 17%

Rodney Prezeau of  Aviva UK Life, comments:

“Our research dispels the myth that older generations are technophobes. However, it also highlights the security risks that come with lives that are increasingly led or supported by online services. The government is rightly taking action to combat the threat of pension cold-callers in later life, but it is important we don’t forget the additional threats that exist in the digital age.”

Have you been targeted or even fallen victim to such a scam?  Share your stories with us so that we can raise awareness of this increasing crime.