Consumers lost £197m to investment scammer last year, latest data from Action Fraud shows.
The average loss is £29,000, with foreign exchange and cryptocurrencies creeping up the list of most commonly reported scams.
Pensions experts are warning that social media is being increasingly used to target people, while tax-year end is a “peak season” for investment scammers to approach savers.
Quilter corporate affairs director Jane Goodland notes that the average amount lost to fraud is nearly five types what the typical person saves into an Isa each year.
Goodland says:“In truth the real cost is not only the £197m lost by victims of fraud, but the untold amount of investment growth that potential investors forego because they fear being scammed or don’t feel able to discern legitimate investment opportunities from the fakes. Investment scams damage public trust in financial services as a result.”
AJ Bell senior analyst Tom Selby adds: “While the government has taken an important step in tackling fraud by banning pensions cold-calling, these figures suggest extending the clampdown to include investments could be necessary to further protect savers.
“However, the reality is scammers’ tactics are already evolving, with increasing numbers of people targeted online via social media. A cold-calling ban would have little impact on this part of the market.
“Clearly the internet is vast and policing its content has proven an impossible task for governments worldwide so far. Ultimately the giant internet and social media companies being used as a conduit for fraud activity need to step up and take greater responsibility for the safety of their users.”