Trade association UK Finance has discovered a surge in online scams throughout 2020, including impersonation and investment fraud.

It said that criminals exploited people’s fears about the covid-19 pandemic to defraud them of their life and pension savings.

According to the association, impersonation scams almost doubled last year with 39,364 cases, marking it the largest increase in scams of any kind.

Fraudsters pretended to offer government support to those impacted by the virus as well as sent bogus texts requiring payments to book a vaccine, and posed as delivery companies to take advantage of the surge in online shopping during the various lockdowns.

Investment scam reports increased by 32% in 2020, with losses to such fraudulent activity rising by 42% to £135.1m ($186.3m, €156.7m).

‘Display extreme caution’

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, said: “In a year when coronavirus and the national lockdown led to a surge in…

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