Pensioners get help to combat scammers

Pensioner phone

Charity says more needs to be done despite new government funding 

18th September 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Age Scotland is urging older people and their families to protect themselves from phone scams.

It follows the Scottish Government's announcement for a nuisance calls action plan with plans for a £50,000 call blocking facility for older people.  

The charity is supporting a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of nuisance calls led by Which and Trading Standards Scotland.

Research shows that "vishing" or phone scams are the second most common type of scam, affecting over one in 10 people aged 65 and over in Scotland.

Some 12% of people targeted have responded to a scam, rising to 16% in the 75-plus age group. Of these, 13% lost more than £1000, with 6% losing £5000 or more.

The most common scams include fraudsters claiming to represent pension companies, banks, or energy companies or offering PPI claims. Callers to the Age Scotland helpline have reported being told they owe hundreds of pounds in taxes or talked into giving their bank details over the phone.

Keith Robson, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: "Unfortunately nuisance calls and phone scams are becoming part of everyday life for older people in Scotland.

“While people of any age can be targeted, older people are disproportionately affected as they are more likely to be at home during the day and rely on landlines.

“An increasing number live alone, which makes them much more likely to fall victim to scammers.”

Almost two-thirds of people targeted did not report the scam, with 22% saying they were too embarrassed to even tell their family or friends.

The charity said more needs to be done to raise awareness of the issue and protect those most likely to be targeted.

It is highlighting the simple steps that older people and their families can take to avoid falling victim to scams on its website. 

Robson added: "These calls can have a devastating impact on people's quality of life. We've heard of pensioners being scammed out of thousands of pounds.

“Unwanted calls can also lead to people feeling more isolated, as they're afraid to pick up their phone.”

Anyone concerned about scams should call  Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. 

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