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Scams Awareness Month - scams which target people over 70

24 Jul 2017

75 is the average age of reported scam victims and £4500 was found to be the average financial loss for those between 75–79 years old. Those over-70 have the highest reported detriment from a number of different types of scams. 
Those aged 61–80 were more likely to be victims of investment fraud. This type of fraud has a huge detriment with a median loss to victims of £10,500 compared to a median loss across all scams of £395. 

Cases we’ve seen

The client attended with a family member. She is almost 90, housebound and lives alone. She may be in the early stages of dementia. She has been receiving boxes of products from Nutriwellness and money for them is being taken from her bank account. This has been happening for over a year and one arrives approximately every 2 months. Another relative has been returning the items but refunds have not been issued. The company regularly telephones her and despite family members changing her bank account details, the company obtains the new ones.

The client is a 72 year old widow. She is distraught as she has been victim of internet fraud. She was told by email that she had inherited £20,000 and a lap top and had to send money to release this. She sent £500 cash and a further £500 two weeks later. She was told that her money would be delivered by a courier but was then informed that courier had been involved in car crash. Photos of the alleged crash were sent to her by email. She has now got £2 only left in her bank account.

The client’s elderly mother lives in assisted housing and it has become apparent she has been completing the forms in the junk mail giving her bank details. £700 has been taken from her account in dribs and drabs. Her mother is convinced if she orders items her name will be entered into a prize draw, and win £96,000 she has bought green tea in capsule form, chocolate and numerous worthless items. The client has spoken to her mother who is 89 and is of sound mind but is still doing this. The client has also spoken to the carers who have agreed to get rid of what they can but the CAB advised that she could contact Royal mail and ask that they stop delivering junk mail to her mother’s address.

Top tips for the over 70s

  • With thousands of bogus health products for sale online, the best advice is to proceed with real caution when considering any new medicine or healthcare product.
  • Although there are legitimate companies who make a living by tracking down heirs, they don’t do it in this way. If you’re asked for a fee for a report, it’s very likely to be bogus.
  • Don’t respond to competitions you haven’t entered and never reveal your bank details or pay fees in advance to release your prize.
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