Aviva report reveals consumer mistrust


More than half (53%) of the more than 2,000 people surveyed for the study said they did not believe the search engine ads were placed by a legitimate financial company. A similar proportion of respondents (56%) do not believe that search engines verify the authenticity of the financial products or services sold.

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

“There is a clear distrust of online financial services advertising,” said Rob Lee, director of fraud prevention at Aviva. “However, tech companies have no legal responsibility to verify the legitimacy of companies that pay them to post ads on their platforms. This potentially leaves millions of internet users exposed to unscrupulous ads. “

Most consumers believe that more needs to be done to make the Internet safer from financial harm. Almost nine in ten (87%) said the government must introduce laws to ensure search engines and social media sites don’t mislead consumers or promote financial scams. Eighty-five percent said search engines should be responsible for the advertising content on their platforms to avoid misleading customers.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns presented a major opportunity for fraudsters. Aviva found that more than two in five respondents said they had been targeted by a COVID-related scam in which they received emails, texts, phone calls and other communications mentioning the coronavirus, and which were suspected. to be a financial scam. This is a 91% increase in the number of reports over the past year.

“We believe the Online Security Bill provides an opportunity to protect consumers of financial services at every stage of their online journey,” said Lee. “We welcome the recent inclusion of user-generated fraud – such as that promoted on social media sites – within the scope of the regulatory framework. We are supporting the financial services industry by calling for legislation to include financial scams promoted by paid advertising. “

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