Elder awareness: How to avoid scams

elder computer grandparent scam tech savvy
The elderly are increasingly at risk from scams, given the fast pace of technology. The BBC reported earlier this year about this increasing problem and how it can affect the victims. Qualified nurse Emma Hammett who has launched an information website for the elderly and their carers, provides some tips and guidance on what can happen, so you can ensure your ageing loved ones avoid this modern danger.

Scams: When it comes to scams, the most vulnerable group is the elderly. One expert predicts the extent of the elderly being scammed is the next big scandal of our times.

Last year 48,981 frauds were reported affecting people over 60- equivalent to nearly six crimes every hour, with 1,140 victims aged over 90 and 13 were over 100.

Scams are increasingly clever and sophisticated. They sound plausible and they suck people in. We can all be vulnerable to scams, but is it the elderly who are often targeted.

Too smart to be scammed

Many of us think we are too clever to be taken in by a scam, leaving us at risk. In fact, research shows that of 63,000 people answering an online test to separate scam texts and emails from genuine messages, only 9% of people were correctly able to identify scam texts.

The cost of scams

Fraud costs UK consumers an estimated £10bn a year in losses. Alongside the financial costs, there are emotional and psychological costs that can deeply affect the victim.

People are embarrassed to report they’ve been scammed and ashamed to become a victim. They suffer a loss of confidence and independence – and they can often end up in residential care as they are simply too afraid to remain at home.

Top tips

  • A bank will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN or full password, nor to request that you move money to another account.
  • If you receive an unexpected email or text, never automatically click on a link. Go to the website you have the relationship with from a separate browser and go via the company home page.
  •  If anyone asks for personal information, don’t provide it. Instead, contact the company directly yourself using a known email or phone number.

Take Action

If you are concerned that you or a relative have been a victim of a scam you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit the > Action Fraud website.

About the author: Emma Hammett is an award winning first aid trainer at First Aid for Life. First Aid for Life is a multi-award-winning, fully regulated first aid training provider. Their trainers are highly experienced medical, health and emergency services professionals who will tailor the training to your needs. Courses are for groups or individuals at a range of locations. First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information. Emma also runs the The Stay Safe for Older People (www.staysafe.support) portal which is a free information and resource website for elders.

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