SOLLA News and Views

10 July 2020

Views: Seven things you need to know about financial scams targeting older people

Keith Brown croppedBournemouth University’s Professor Keith Brown is an expert in preventing financial fraud and scams. We spoke to him about the growing problem of financial scams in Britain which particularly affects the older generation – the average age of a victim is 75 according to the ONS.

Here are seven things you need to know about financial scams targeting older people, including how to help prevent them:

  1. Scammers target lonely older people, especially those with conditions like dementia.
  2. The cost of fraud is more than financial, it can also be a huge blow to a person’s confidence and cause a loss of dignity.
  3. Scammers are highly skilled manipulators of language, who use techniques to make people feel at ease and allay fears. You do not need to be gullible or vulnerable to fall for a scam.
  4. Talking to a relative, especially a parent, about fraud and scams can be particularly difficult and can feel like you’re poking your nose in where it’s not wanted. But it’s important to persevere, fraud is rife and criminals are always looking for opportunities to defraud vulnerable people.
  5. If you know someone who’s been defrauded over the phone, this number will likely be shared and targeted by other scammers. Use call blocking technology to block unknown numbers.
  6. To take on fraud, we first need to acknowledge the scale of the problem and tackle loneliness.
  7. Scams are prevalent, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, and there are limited resources to fight against this type of crime, so it’s really important to consider how best to protect yourself and your loved ones.

 Older lady on computer

SOLLA is a not-for-profit organisation founded to make sure older people and their families get the very best advice when it comes to financial planning for later life. Financial advisers who have achieved SOLLA membership keep up-to-date with the fast-moving world of financial fraud and can help to spot the signs of scams and help prevent them from happening. They are dedicated to providing the right advice, and with a full understanding of the issues affecting older people and their families.

For more information about spotting and preventing scams, please visit the National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work and Professional Practice website, where you can find a number of downloadable guides.