These days most people are aware of the various scams and false campaigns that are circulating through the public and attempting to part people from their money, their property, and their private information. It seems to have become almost common place to receive nuisance phone calls about PPI claims you never made or accident claims that never happened, and a lot of people have become wise to them and will rightly question claims they are suspicious of. However, elderly people do not always have the advantage of viewing the world through a modern lens, and can often find themselves as victims of one of these scams.
Unfortunately, criminals have picked up on the vulnerability of older people, and will now regularly devise new schemes and methods of specifically targeting elderly people in order to get hold of their bank details, valuable properties, private information, or their life savings. Sadly, research shows that more than seven out of ten older people in Britain are targeted by scams every month; collectively scamming them out of billions of pounds.
Elderly people are naturally more vulnerable than the rest of the general population, and the onset of old age will only serve to increase this vulnerability. For instance, older people are more likely to be retired, and therefore at home more often, which means they are more readily available for contact from cold callers as they are more likely to answer the phone or open the door. Similarly, a lot of elderly people spend a significant amount of time alone due to varying circumstances, and can sometimes succumb to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which criminals then take advantage of by ‘acting’ like a friend and building false trust. Through old age, most people’s health will see a general decline, which means they are unable to do everything that they once did, and cognitive function might also decline slightly. Scammers will use this as a way to offer help or assistance that never comes, or to purposefully confuse older people, so that they are not sure what they might be agreeing to.
There are a surprising amount of scams that have been designed to part people from their money and possessions, such as card courier scams, PPI scams, fake charity scams, prize draw scams, and many more, and it can sometimes feel impossible to guard against them all. However, there are a number of things you can do to help limit the opportunities for scammers, like noting the date due for bill payments and bank statements, never replying to unsolicited mail, ensuring never to give personal information out, like account numbers or PIN numbers – no matter who is asking for it, never returning calls to premium rate numbers that usually start with 0871 or 0872, and much more.
To further educate people about the risks of criminal scams on elderly people, Home Instead has developed a program that will help to further inform people about the type of fraud elderly people are at risk of, the effects it could have, and how to minimise the risk. We have created useful toolkits containing advice and checklists to give local people the chance to become better informed and better protect themselves and their loved ones.
To find out more information about how to protect older people from scams, and to enquire about our toolkit, you can contact us on 01214 565559.
You can also contact Birmingham Council trading standards or Citizen’s Advice for more information about fraud and scams. Tel no: 03454 040506, website here, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org