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Losing £££ By Falling Victim to Scams

Losing £££ By Falling Victim to Scams

Published at 3:46pm 7th July 2017.

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Everyone can fall victim to scams, and they can come in the post, down the telephone, on email or in person, they can be PPI related, phishing scams, identity theft or be posed as romantic interests. The list is endless which is what makes it even harder to spot when you might be being targeted. But why are elderly people in particular falling victim? 

  1. Decision Making / Understanding:  Cognitive function can decline with age, meaning that even those older people who do not suffer from a dementia or mental health problem can make poor decisions that leave them vulnerable to scams. Older people may not understand or keep up to date with changes in legislation protecting their legal rights. For example, a tenacious door to door salesperson or cold caller, may not explain the 7 day cooling off period correctly, if at all.
  2. Availability: Seniors are seen as a target because they are generally retired, less mobile, and likely to be at home more often.
  3. Isolation/Loneliness: Families move away and sometimes have little or no regular contact with their parents. This lack of interaction means that some older people don’t necessarily have close contact with the people they most trust to help them review decisions. Friendships may be limited which can leave older people vulnerable to a ‘friendly’ cold caller who drops by the house. Some scams are even perpetrated by seemingly trusted people who work to build new friendships first and then prey on vulnerabilities later.
  4. Health: As we age, health problems mean that many older people have difficulty keeping up with the maintenance of their property and this is a well-known attraction to con artists. Many of our senior citizens are unable to carry out DIY jobs and rely on other sources for help. Having a dementia can exacerbate the problem of health vulnerability.
  5. Prosperity: Money is one of the most notable reasons for senior vulnerability as scammers see them as a supply of wealth that includes property, life savings and other assets. 

Home Instead have put together a really useful guide to help you and your family and friends stay safe from scams which you can find here

Beth Parsons from Stray FM's Health and Wellbeing Show went along to one of the Home Instead Scam Awareness sessions to meet Andrew and Sheena Van Parys, John Fox and Carol Bray about the problem.