The coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in financial scams, according to research by Canada Life.

The financial services firm’s investigation discovered that the most common scams were related to banking, insurance and pensions.

Andrew Tully, technical director at Canada Life, told FT Adviser: “The Covid-19 pandemic has provided a fertile opportunity for ‘low-lifes’ to prey on not only the vulnerable but also people who are worried and anxious about both their health and their wealth.

“With families trying to make ends meet as the economy dips, an offer of money or easy access to your pension early might seem the perfect opportunity to dig yourself out of trouble – at face value.

“Sadly it’s highly likely it will be scammers, so be aware and follow the simple rule of thumb – if it appears too good to be true, it inevitably is. Simply walk away, hang up, or delete the email or text.”

Research from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pension Scams has shown that the current situation, with people spending more time than usual at home, has led to a surge in scammers attempting to defraud people either via phone calls or online.

Canada Life’s survey sought the opinion of 2,000 adults at the beginning of May. Some 43 per cent of respondents said they now felt more worried about scams than they had prior to the coronavirus outbreak.