Pension Freedom  

Scammers target nearly five million elderly people

Scammers target nearly five million elderly people

Nearly five million older people have been targeted by scammers according to Age UK.

The charity has warned that older people are particularly at risk of being scams victims, with over two-fifths saying they've been a target. 

Just over a tenth of older people have then gone on to respond to a scam.  

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Among single people, over a quarter had responded to a scam.

They were also more likely to proceed to paying the scammers and 16 per cent of single people had given over money, compared to only 6 per cent of married people.

Over a fifth of those who weren't in a relationship had also given their personal details to scammers.

Only 2 per cent of married people had done this.

Age is also a big factor in falling for a scam.

People over the age of 75 were more inclined to give scammers their financial or personal information.

More than a fifth of people who had been targeted admitted to not telling anyone at all because they felt too embarrassed.

Most people who did admit to being scammed only told their friends and family instead of an official channel. 

Research by the Money Advice Service backs up Age UK that there could be as many as eight scam calls every second – the equivalent of 250 million calls per year.

Citizens Advice has calculated that 10.9 million consumers have received unsolicited contact about their pension since April 2015.

IFA Darren Cooke of Red Circle Planning has been campaigning to ban cold calling with the launch of a petition which attracted thousands of online supporters and led to a bill to ban cold calling.

The bill became a casualty of the general election.

He said he is disappointed the government has failed to push ahead with the ban of cold calling but added "anti-calling measures have not been shelved only delayed."

Tom Selby, senior policy analyst at AJ Bell, said: "More must be done to protect vulnerable people from falling victim to fraudsters.

"In pensions, we have seen a rise in scam activity following the pension freedoms, with savers targeted by offers of weird and wonderful returns from dodgy investments that usually fail to materialise.

"In this context the government's continuing delay in confirming a clampdown on scams is a concern.

"These measures, which were first announced in November, could seriously deter the activities of scammers and raise awareness of the dangers of fraud among the general public. The longer the government prevaricates, the greater the danger savers will be targeted by fraudsters."

Age UK's top tips for avoiding scams include flagging that new rules allowing people to access their pension pots from age 55 have brought with them new scams.

Age UK stated: "Be cautious of anyone that claims to know about loopholes, talks about overseas investments or says you can get your money before age 55.