June 13-26 is Scams Awareness Week, and here at Unique Senior Care we think it’s particularly important to highlight the devastating effects of fraud on the elderly. A recent study has shown that a shocking number of elderly fraud victims are too embarrassed to tell anyone.
There are more older people being targeted than ever. With increased concerns over the increased isolation of this generation, it is vital that we break the taboo.
Over 30 per cent of elderly people were too ashamed to tell their loved ones that they have been scammed . Over-65s are three times more likely to lose money to fraudsters than to be burgled. This is according to a report, by Reassura and the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies at the University of Portsmouth .
The hidden effects of fraud with elderly victims
The effects of fraud are a lot more wide-reaching than the financial loss itself. The shock and embarrassment of falling victim to fraud can have a profound effect. Mental health of the elderly and vulnerable is a key consideration. The report revealed that 89 per cent of over-65s fear that being a scam victim would lead to a drop in confidence. 68 per cent admit that it would result in increased hesitation to open the door or answer the phone. These are extremely worrying statistics, especially when we consider concerns about loneliness in the older generation.
Breaking the taboo
With fraud now being the most common type of crime in the country, it’s essential that we encourage our elderly relatives to talk about it, and – most importantly – to emphasise that there is nothing to be ashamed of if they fall victim to it.
Make family members aware of the most common types of scams – for example bogus charities, fake competitions, health frauds and false claims for debts – and how they are operated. And also make the point that by speaking out, they can turn their victim status into an empowered position where they can help others. They are also more likely to recoup their money if they tell someone about it as soon as they suspect that fraud has occurred.
Scams Awareness Month, organised by Citizens Advice and Trading Standards Services. For advice on spotting a scam, click here.