Elderly people and scams
If you look after an older person – whether it’s a friend or a family member – you’ll be aware that people with vulnerabilities can be targeted by scammers. Older people often fear being mugged, or burgled – but 90% of all crimes committed against the over 65s are fraud.
Scammers don’t always come across as aggressive or pushy – they can often appear very polite and friendly, which is how they win people over and gain their trust. They use several methods to commit identity theft and steal money, which include:
- Online scams (for example, via fake emails)
- Phone scams (where scammers call up and pretend to be a company or business)
- Postal scams (where fake letters encourage people to reveal their bank details)
- Doorstep scams (where scammers try to gain access to your home, or ask for money)
Age UK has reported that almost 5 million people over the age of 65 believe they have been targeted by scammers. People living on their own, or suffering with dementia, are especially vulnerable.
The same study revealed that 27% of single people were duped by a scam when they were targeted, compared with less than a tenth of people who lived with someone else.
The cost of fraud – in terms of money, time and individuals’ health - is massive.
- In 2017, victims suffered an average loss of £29,000 due to investment fraud
- On average, pension scam victims lose £91,000
- It can take weeks to sort out the aftermath of a scam
Here are some ways to help elderly people to protect themselves against scammers – and the warning signs which might suggest that they’ve been targeted.
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Elderly people and scams - an infographic from Equifax UK