More than half (53%) of the study’s over 2,000 respondents said they don’t trust that the advertisements on search engines were placed by a legitimate financial company. A similar proportion of respondents (56%) don’t believe that search engines verify the authenticity of the financial products or services being sold.

Contrary to popular belief that older people are more gullible when it comes to matters relating to the internet, respondents over 55 were much less likely to trust search engine results than those aged 16 to 24. Only 29% of over-55s trusted the results, compared to 59% of the 16 to 24 age group.

“There is a clear mistrust of financial services adverts online,” said Rob Lee, director of fraud prevention at Aviva. “However, there is no legal responsibility for technology firms to verify the legitimacy of the companies which pay them to publish adverts on their platforms….

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