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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The elderly are still targeted by fraudsters

By Andrew Reilly

While anyone can be the victim of fraud, it is fair to say that many fraudsters will prefer to focus their attention on thoughts on the people that are more likely to be susceptible to fraud. This can take many forms but on the whole, there is agreement that the elderly are more likely to be the victims of fraud. This is partly because this is the group who are more likely to be targeted by fraudsters but you can see why there is a movement towards catching out the elderly.

Some elderly people may live alone, they may be frail and they may be unsure or unaware of modern techniques and technology. Any one of these aspects can provide a fraudster with the opportunity to commit crime but when you take on board the fact that there will be a number of these aspects combined for some people, the over 55 age group is definitely the group that many fraudsters look to reach.

Recent studies indicate people aged 55 and over are at risk

It is important that people are aware of the danger of fraud. You don’t want to see anyone become too scared or frightened of the potential for fraud but it is vital that people stay on top of the dangers that are out there. A survey undertaken in late 2015 by Santander, a High Street bank, found that one in five people aged 55 or older believe that they have been the victim of an attempted fraud over the past year. This is a concern for a number of reasons but if people of this age group are becoming aware of the danger and difficulties that they face in life, it is far more likely that they will be able to avoid being a victim of fraud.

One area of fraudulent activity that has significantly risen in recent months has been the number of telephone banking fraud that has taken place. There has been a reported rise of 95% when compared to the year on year figures for the first six months of 2015. This may be because telephone banking is a new activity for many people of this age, and they may not be fully aware of what how best to stay safe with this style of activity. There is also the fact that there has been so much attention and focus placed on online fraudulent activity that some people may have become complacent about other types of fraud. There is a need to remind people that fraudulent activity can take place anywhere and that they need to be vigilant at all times.

Telephone banking fraud is a popular style of fraud

The most popular forms of telephone banking fraud involve the fraudsters calling up and pretending to represent the police or the fraud team from the bank or building society a person is with. The call will be made with respect to an alleged problem with the account and it is undertaken with the aim of obtaining the bank or credit card details or to encourage people to transfer funds that will be used to protect them from fraud. Of course, doing so would actually make the person a victim of fraud with this style of fraudulent activity being known as “vishing”.

There has also been a rise in the number of pension scams, which usually involve people being called by someone claiming to be from a business that offers a pension review at no charge. Variations on this theme can include investment opportunities for the recipient or ways in which people can pay a smaller amount of tax.

Given that scams can have a devastating impact on the victim, the best thing a person can do is remove the likelihood of being scammed. This is never going to be something that you can do with complete confidence but you can take steps to improve your security. The major banks and building societies are never going to call up and ask for private details, banking details or for funds to be transferred. Anyone that is on the phone and receives this sort of phone call should immediately hang up and then inform the police of the attempted fraud. While you may think that hanging up prevents you from being the victim of fraud, you should be looking to minimise the likelihood of other people being victims of fraud as well.

Given the state of the economy, it is likely that these crimes will continue and it may be that more fraudsters will find themselves in court. This is where experienced defence solicitors will be called upon to provide their services to ensure that fraudsters are represented in a fair manner.

About the author: Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn't sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.

Image: Geralt/Pixabay, CC0, US-PD