Fraudulent banking services, credit brokers and investment opportunities are the most common scams used by cold-callers, according to analysis by Citizens Advice.
More than a third (37%) of fraudulent cold calls reported to the charity involved fake financial or professional services.
Older people are more susceptible to scams, with 46% of all reported cases being made by over-55s.
The research is based on analysis of more than 20,000 scams reported by April 2014 and March 2015.
Cold calling was the most common method of targeting people with scams:
- 41% of scams were initiated with cold calling
- 18% used internet communications
- 14% of cases involved postal communications
- 9% of victims were scammed by phoning a number
- 5% were visited at their homes by scammers.
Citizens Advice say that people should be suspicious if they are called out of the blue about their finances and that alarm bells should ring if you feel you are being pressured into making a decision.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“Scams often prey on people’s most pressing needs. Bogus investments, fake debt remedies and fraudulent bank services can devastate people’s finances.
“The new pensions freedoms mean it is even more important that people think twice before responding to an expected call offering to release money from pensions or too-good-to-be-true investments.”