Victims lost more than a million pounds to scammers every day last year with fewer than one in two receiving any compensation or their money back, new figures have revealed.
The biggest losses were shouldered by desperate investors enticed by false promises of high returns, banking trade body UK Finance warned.
The number of investment scams soared 48pc last year as victims ploughed lockdown savings into dubious schemes advertised on social media or peddled by cold-callers. Cases of “authorised push payment scam”, where a victim is tricked into sending money directly to criminals, jumped by more than a quarter in 2021 to almost 196,000.
Frauds ranged from romance scams to paying for goods or services never received. Fraud victims lost £583m over the course of the year, equivalent to £1.6m a day, and a rise of 25pc from the year before.
However, more than £171m was lost to investment scams alone, a daily loss of more than £470,000, more than 50pc higher than the year before. Criminals touted fake investments in gold, cryptocurrency and wine and primarily targeted younger savers.