Saturday, February 2, 2008

Why Scammers Love Elders-The Elders Are Seen as a 'Soft Touch'

as published in This is Money.Com

The hidden misery of thousands of elderly and vulnerable consumers who repeatedly fall victim to scams was highlighted today by the Office of Fair Trading.

As it launched the 2008 Scams Awareness Month, the OFT said protecting the elderly from ruthless operators was one of the main themes of this year's campaign.

Every year an estimated 3million UK consumers fall victim to scams sent by post, email, text, the phone and internet.

Bogus lotteries, deceptive prize draws and sweepstakes, fake psychics and 'miracle' health cures cost the public more than £3billion a year.

Anyone can fall for a scam but the elderly are often hit hardest research shows older victims are likely to lose nearly twice as much per scam as others. Victims are often socially isolated, over-trusting or afflicted by illnesses such as dementia and can be repeatedly targeted by the scammers. Many lose their life savings and suffer depression and ill health as a result.

'Scammers use sophisticated psychological techniques to target people who are often the most vulnerable in society. Those who fall for these scams not only lose their savings, but often live in fear, suffering debt and depression and are too afraid to tell anyone of their plight. We want to ask family members, carers and others to help spot the warning signs before it is too late.'

'Scammers operate through a ruthless circle of psychological and financial abuse. They gain people's trust and exploit fears, insecurities and pain to steal as much money as they can from those who can least afford it.

Abridged and edited for E.A.=>>

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