A report by Age UK has found that 43% of older people believe they have been targeted by scammers, with an older person falling victim to a scam every 40 seconds. It's a real concern for older people who are often more vulnerable, especially those that live alone. Scams can happen on the phone, online, through the post or fact-to-face, even on someone's own doorstep.
So what can be done to protect older people from scams?
There are lots of resources that can help if you're worried about a loved one falling victim to a scam.
Age UK recommend following a five step process to reduce the chances of being scammed and these steps are a good starting point for a conversation with your loved one:
- STOP – Never do anything you don't want to or make any decisions on the spot
- CHECK – Always check their credentials
- ASK – Always ask someone you trust for a second opinion
- MINE – Do not give away personal information
- SHARE – Share your experience with others to lower their risk of being scammed
Email, phone calls and text messages are the most common way scammers are trying to target people. Barclays Bank offer three tips to help keep people safe:
- Never share your password or PIN code - even with the police or your bank, they should never ask for this information.
- Do not click on links or attachments in emails that you're not expecting and/or don't know the sender. They could be taking you to a fake website or installing a virus on your computer
- Don't let anyone you don't know have access to your computer, even remotely.
Scams are becoming more and more sophisticated with time, keeping vigilant is important and act safely online.
Many people who have been scammed are embarrassed and so don't want to talk about or report it. If you're worried that this has happened to your loved one, talk to them, reassure them and report the scam, next consider what steps can be taken to ensure something similar doesn't happen again.
Other useful information:
- Citizen's Advice - How to Report A Scam
- Citizen's Advice - What to do if you've been scammed
- Age UK's Scams and Fraud resources
- Get advice from Age UK's free helpline: 0800 169 65 65