When it comes to fraud, the vast majority of criminals would prefer to go after what they would consider an easy target. Unfortunately, the targets for many of these people are the ones who need the most help and protection – the elderly. According to CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau), fraud is rising year on year and in the last year alone, four million cases of fraud were reported. However, the four million figure doesn’t include the many unreported cases of fraud and so it is likely to be much higher in reality. Shame and embarrassment are common reasons for not reporting a fraud to the police and it is the elderly who are most likely to stay quiet.
Other reasons why elderly folk are more likely to fall victim to these scams include certain common traits including; being too trusting, and lonely. The last of these in particular puts them at higher risk as they may be too eager to have a chat with the ‘nice man’ on the other end of the phone and hand over sensitive information.
If you want to make sure that your elderly friend or relative stays safe and keeps their money, dignity and sense of security, take a look at the following advice.
- Information – Make the person aware of all the potential areas of concern and let them know how they can effectively deal with each one.
- Phone calls – Tell them to ask for company information that they can then verify themselves by calling the company directly if need be.
- Home visits – Consider fitting a security device such as a door chain or intercom so they don’t have to fully open the door when there’s an unknown visitor.
- Regular visits – Try to visit their home regularly and look out for any potential warning signs. These may include large amounts of mail which could mean they’ve been identified by fraudsters as an ‘easy target’. Also, ask about any phone calls they might have received and listen out for anything which sounds suspect.