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Do you know an older person affected by fraud?

Age UK is conducting research on the impact of fraud on older people and speaking to those affected. Can you help? Our guest, Joel Lewis, explains more.

This is a guest post by Joel Lewis.  All views expressed are Joel’s own and not necessarily shared by Which?. 

An older person becomes the victim of fraud every 40 seconds, equivalent to more than 800,000 last year in England and Wales.

Age UK is the country’s largest charity working on behalf of older people and we are currently conducting research on the impact of fraud and speaking to those affected.

Raising awareness

Whilst there is increasing awareness of scams sent by email, people are often targeted by pension and investment fraud as well as postal, phone and doorstep scams.

Financial losses are common, but being scammed can also seriously affect a person’s health, confidence and independence.

Scams are increasingly sophisticated and ordinary people who have done everything reasonably possible to protect themselves can still suffer life-changing losses.

As a charity, we help raise awareness, provide advice and support those affected by fraud. We also campaign and work with the police, banks and local agencies to try and improve the system of prevention and support.

Can you help?

We want to use the voice of older people to make the case for improved protection and support. If you have an experience you would like to share, please get in touch.

We are particularly interested in speaking to those that have an experience of:

Courier fraud (being contacted by phone by someone pretending to be the police or your bank)

Recovery scams (being contacted after becoming victim of a scam with a promise to help recover the money you lost)

Rogue traders (someone paid to carry out a job e.g. a roofer that is never carried out or done to a very poor quality)

Benefit fraud (a fraudster may steal your identity in order to claim benefits in your name. This can result in legitimate benefit payments to the person being stopped)

Interviews would normally be conducted by phone and any comments you make or information we use would be completely anonymised unless you had given us express permission otherwise.

Please get in touch in the comments if you have any questions. If you’d rather discuss anything privately, you can contact me directly by email.

This was a guest post by Joel Lewis. All views expressed were Joel’s own and are not necessarily shared by Which?. 

Comments
Ignacio says:
10 December 2019

The main problem is that there are not security law in London, Companies can be registered very easee without verification,and if you want find a lawyer normaly the lawyer ask more money that the amount that you want rescue.

Isn’t this all about trust in the new digital age ?
In times gone by it was spivs and “con merchants ” who you met face to face now its digitally done to the great delight of millions of crooks worldwide.
People in this country were brought up to have trust in others , my old tenement door key in my street could be bought in the newsagents at the bottom of the road, now its virtual and remote with any Tom.Dick Harry being able to con the honest ,innocent members of the public .
The government knew when it said — go digital that there would be “casualties ” they just didn’t realise the extent of those “casualties ” and now are using damage limitation methods and third parties to distance themselves from the reality , they should have looked at America who had already gone through all that making its citizens more educated to watch out for fraudsters .
By denying direct government action via regulation of the industry they do a great disservice to this country.

From the rise in number of discussions about fraud on these pages and reports in the magazine, our society seems to have a major problem. To keep it in perspective, it would be good to know how many of us have never experienced fraud. I am not aware of being a victim.

I very rarely discuss money with friends and family and the only significant financial loss I have been told of was when a significant amount of money was removed from a friend’s account years ago. He had done nothing wrong and the money was refunded promptly by the bank. I banked with this bank and this incident gave me the confidence to make use of online banking.

My own defence against fraud has been a refusal to act on phone calls or emails from companies about anything financial, even if they appear to be from companies I use. Usually I ignore them but if they might be genuine I look up their phone number and call the company.

I am fed-up with the number of supposedly reputable companies that put clickable links in emails. These links are often used by rogues. If we learned that genuine businesses did not send email containing links we could assume that others could be scams.

Popular phone scams ask for victims to press buttons on their keypad, but that is asking for trouble. If a company or other organisation needs to speak to us then it would be better to ask a customer to look up a phone number or email address from our record or the website and get in contact. That’s not as convenient, but better than being robbed.

It’s amazing that some people will divulge passwords, so I suggest that organisations refer to them as ‘secret passwords’ to reinforce that they must not be divulged.

Carers are meant to protect their clients but my experience is the opposite of that or so it seems. I’m no longer in receipt of benefits because of this plus other reasons.