A new Age UK survey has found that 53 per cent of older people (aged 65+) believe they’ve been targeted by fraudsters, and that while many do not respond, of those who do 70 per cent of people of all age groups said that they had personally lost money. The research suggests that a third of older people who responded to a scam may have lost £1,000 or more.
The survey, carried out by Populus on behalf of the Charity, shows the extent of the issue as it is revealed that over half of those over 65 have received some form of communication – a phone call, text, email, post – they believe to have been a scam, with 60 per cent never reporting it. 12 per cent of participants of all ages also said that a friend or relative had lost money through a scam in the past two years.
These alarming findings come as the Charity publishes a new report highlighting the prevalence of fraud being committed across the UK – Only the tip of the iceberg: fraud against older people.
With the new pension freedoms coming into force this week, the Charity is warning that people over 55, who will now have access to large pots of pension savings, are likely to be increasingly targeted by fraudsters carrying out a whole range of scams.
The report from Age UK highlights the tactics used by fraudsters, including befriending or `grooming’ potential victims and isolating them from friends and family, the use of seemingly professional documentation and official-looking websites, impersonating a bank or the police and even threats and intimidation.
The Charity also wants to raise awareness of the effects of being a victim of scams, which can have serious consequences for people’s physical and mental health, as well as their relationships and finances. Some victims’ health deteriorates quickly after a scam and in the worst cases has even resulted in older people losing their independence and needing residential care.
Age UK also wants to increase awareness of the crime and the levels of sophistication involved so that people feel equipped to challenge and report a potential scam. The Charity has also created a list of top tips to help older people to spot a fraudster and avoid being scammed. The tips can be found here: www.ageuk.org.uk/scams
People looking for advice can also order a copy of Age UK’s free, information guide Staying safe, which can be downloaded from www.ageuk.org.uk or ordered from the Age UK Advice Line on 0800 169 65 65.
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