Top 10 scams involving elderly people

Begging hands

Published at 3:05pm 18th June 2018.

Home Instead Promoted by
Home Instead

June is Scams Awareness Month and it's revealed that elderly people are commonly falling victim. 

Home Instead who provides home care for people in Harrogate, Ripon and Thirsk have teamed up with Think Jessica, a charity which spreads awareness of scams  and helps victims and their families with support

Caregivers from Home Instead are professionally trained to spot the signs in people who many have been affected by scams, but you too can help elderly people to stay safe. 

The following list shows the most common ways that elderly people fall victim to scams. If you have an elderly relative or friend, this is well worth a read. 

Alternatively you can read the full version of the Senior Fraud Protection from Home Instead.

Top scams involving older people

  1. Courier Scams: Scammers call the victim claiming to be from their bank and tell them that their debit or credit card needs collecting. The scammer then instructs the victim to hang up and call the bank to ensure the issue is genuine. However the criminal stays on the line, tricking the person into thinking they’re calling their bank. The fraudster will then ask the victim to key in their PIN number, before sending a courier to collect the card. The victim is told the card is going to the bank to be changed but actually the scammer keeps it and uses it to buy goods or withdraw funds from the victim’s account. Known as the courier card scam, the average age of victims is 69, showing that it is predominantly the elderly who are being targeted. 
    Empty envelope with red pencil
  2. Lottery and Prize Draw Scams: Victims are told they have won a large cash prize, but are asked to send a fee in order to release it. Between 2012 and 2013, 1 million (2%) of UK adults sent money in reply to unsolicited communications and just under one-half (almost 500,000 people) are believed to have been defrauded as a result, costing UK individuals an estimated £3.5 billion in total (1). It is, however, believed that this is just the tip of the iceberg as many victims do not wish to speak up or do not think it’s worth reporting this sort of crime. Lotto ticket
  3. Phishing Scams: Older people are increasingly receiving messages either via post or email that appear to be from a legitimate company or institution, asking them to update or verify their personal information. Often they pose as banks or building societies, saying there is a problem with their account and asking for sensitive details or cash.Calculator with pen and paper
  4. Missed Call Scam: A person receives a missed call from a number beginning in 070. This appears to be a call from a mobile phone. However, when you call the number back, the call is immediately dropped or an engaged tone is played and you are charged a high premium for making the call. If you receive a missed call from these premium rate numbers, do not call back.
    Man in suit with mobile phone in hand
  5. Fake Charities: Calls, or even visits, are received from individuals claiming to be raising funds for a reputable organisation or charity and requesting donations. However the caller is not authorised to be fundraising for the organisation. Sometimes the caller may donate a token amount to the charity, however more often the total extent of the donated funds is kept by the scammer.
    Begging hands waiting for money
  6. Internet Fraud: Pop-up browser windows simulating virus-scanning software fool victims into either downloading a fake anti-virus program (at a substantial cost) or an actual virus that will open up whatever information is on the user’s computer to scammers. Older internet users’ unfamiliarity with the less visible aspects of browsing the web (firewalls and built-in virus protection, for example) makes them especially susceptible to such traps. Man in dark room with laptop
  7. Identity Theft: The number of incidents involving the fraudulent use of personal information rose 24% in 2012 from the previous year’s figures. Older people are often targeted by people claiming to be conducting a survey. During questioning, the caller may obtain sufficient information to match information available in the public domain in order to be able to take a loan out against the person’s property, take out credit cards, or obtain credit. Unless reported, the person becomes liable for the debt incurred.

     

    Driving license

     

  8. Clairvoyant Scams: The scammer writes a generic letter, showing false concern and pretending that they are going to a lot of trouble to give the reader good health, wealth and happiness. Clairvoyant scammers will often blackmail their victims by telling them that they will be plagued by bad luck if they don’t send money.Psychic reflective ball
  9. Catalogue and Brochure Scams: Scammers send out literature selling a variety of different products including jewellery, wines, clothing and items for the home and garden. They guarantee prizes or rewards to those who order but the prize is never sent. Instead, they send out ever more dazzling promises in order to get more orders.Catalog with sticky notes
  10. PPI Scams: Victims receive a call from someone claiming to be from a claims handling company. They are told they have been awarded compensation for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance but need to give their bank details and make a payment to release.Piggy bank with pile of one pound coins

Nick Hancock from Stray FM's Health and Wellbeing Show went along to meet Sheena Van Parys and Carol Bray at Home Instead to find out more. 

 

 

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