Only 37% of married scam victims tell spouse, survey finds

Married men were less inclined than married women to tell their partner they had been targeted by fraud.

Vicky Shaw
Friday 03 September 2021 15:21
Fewer than four in 10 married people who have experienced fraud told their spouse about it, according to Marcus by Goldman Sachs (Yui Mok/PA)
Fewer than four in 10 married people who have experienced fraud told their spouse about it, according to Marcus by Goldman Sachs (Yui Mok/PA)

Fewer than four in 10 married people who have experienced fraud told their spouse about it, a survey has found.

Among fraud victims who were married, just 37% told their partner about their experience, according to Marcus by Goldman Sachs.

Married men (33%) were less inclined than married women (43%) to tell their spouse when they had been scammed.

A quarter (24%) told close friends about being defrauded, the survey of 2,000 people across the UK found.

One in six (15%) told their colleagues. Less than one in 10 (9%) told the legitimate organisation that the fraudster was pretending to be from.

Nearly one in 10 (8%) did not tell anyone.

Almost a fifth (17%) of fraud victims said they felt embarrassed about it, which may explain why some kept quiet.

Nearly half (46%) felt angry and a quarter (25%) said they were left feeling vulnerable.

People aged 55 and over were particularly likely to feel angry (65%) and vulnerable (28%) after they were scammed.

Younger adults aged 18 to 34 were the most likely to say they felt “stupid” (28%) after being scammed – despite many frauds being highly sophisticated and hard to spot – while 18% of 35 to 54-year-olds felt embarrassed.

People aged 35 to 54 were the most likely to spread the word about being defrauded, with almost a third (30%) saying they told most people they know, compared to only one in 10 (11%) of over 55s.

A quarter (25%) of people surveyed believed they are more susceptible to fraud because of their polite and trusting nature.

Over a fifth (21%) said they wished they knew how to politely decline a cold caller.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs has partnered with Debrett’s, the etiquette authority, to create a “good manners guide to outsmarting scammers”, which provides tips for tackling unwanted and suspect callers confidently, politely and assertively.

The guide can be found at marcus.co.uk/phonescams.

It suggests, for example, flipping conversations by politely asking cold callers for their full name, number and who they work for.

It also suggests that people can explain they like to be cautious about incoming calls, so they would be grateful if the caller could give a number to call them back on before continuing with the conversation.

People can use this pause as an opportunity to do research and check the organisation’s website.

Sarah Card, head of delivery and risk at Marcus by Goldman Sachs in the UK, said: “It’s important to always stay vigilant; fraudsters have become very sophisticated and convincing in recent years, enticing their victims through charm and their ability to speak with conviction and the air of urgency to obtain key information from their targets.

“We encourage people not to feel alone and isolated when it comes to experiencing fraud – unfortunately it’s happened to a lot of people. By talking about it with others we can spread the word and help more people stay safe in the future.”

Liz Wyse, etiquette adviser at Debrett’s said: “When it comes to fraudulent calls, forewarned is always forearmed. If you’re scammed, or have a near miss, tell other people.

“It’s a real warning sign if the scammer asks you not to tell anyone about the call. If you feel you’re being carried along by a call, it’s a good idea to say: ‘That’s very interesting, just hang on, I’d like to discuss this with my wife/mother/partner’.”

Here are some tips from Marcus by Goldman Sachs and Debrett’s for dealing with a suspected scammer:

1. Screen your calls – you do not have to answer the phone.

2. Block the call early – ask who you are talking to.

3. Flip the conversation by asking them questions.

4. Do not be fooled by politeness.

5. Check their credentials.

6. Say you will ring them back on their organisation’s official number.

7. Keep your lips sealed – do not give out your personal or financial information.

8. Do not let them in – never click on links they send you.

9. Do not panic. Stop and take five minutes to think about what they are asking you to do.

10. Solve your own problems – tell them you will deal with it yourself.

11. Spread the word by sharing your experience with friends and family.

12. Make your excuses – was that the doorbell you just heard?

13. End it – feel empowered to put down the phone when you think someone is scamming you. You do not owe them politeness.

More tips about financial scams can be found at marcus.co.uk/security.

Information about firms can also be found on the Financial Conduct Authority’s website and scams can be reported to Action Fraud.