Scammers are out for elder adults

by | Dec 28, 2023

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  • In a survey of scam victims, Feedzai has revealed that purchase scams are the most popular scam type for over 65s in the UK with 62% falling victim, trumping investment scams (15%) and romance scams (4%)
  • A phone call is the top route for fraudsters to target unwitting consumers (26%), closely followed by Facebook and other social media channels (24%) and email (20%)
  • Nearly a third (29%) of the victims surveyed have lost between £501 – £10,000 as a result of a scam 
  • Taboo still remains, with victims feeling angry, ashamed, lonely, and afraid after falling for a scam 

Shoppers are being warned to remain vigilant when shopping this festive period as over two-thirds (62%) of scam victims over 65 have fallen to a purchase scam, research from Feedzai, the financial crime and risk management solution, has found. 

The research surveyed over 500 fraud victims over 65 in the UK to uncover the most common scam types, the ways fraudsters operated to trick their targets and the impact it had. Purchase scams significantly trump investment scams (15%) and romance scams (4%) revealing the severity of how prevalent these scams are. 

Purchase scams, where a person buys something they deem legitimate but doesn’t exist, are a popular tactic fraudsters use to trick unsuspecting shoppers. With the holiday season in full swing, bargain hunters must be cautious to ensure they are buying from legitimate websites for themselves or loved ones.

 
 

A phone call is the top route for fraudsters to target victims, with a quarter (26%) stating their scammer reached out to them via phone. The research revealed that men are more likely to fall for a fraudulent phone call, with 32% of men falling for a scam over the phone, compared to 21% of women. 

Social media has also become a hotbed for fraud in recent years. Just shy of a quarter (24%) of respondents have fallen for a scam on Facebook and other social media channels. Women over 65 have fallen for more social media scams than men, rising to nearly a third (29%) compared to 19% for men. With fake adverts and accounts flooding social media platforms, shoppers must be wary of deals that seem too good to be true on the platform and head to a legitimate website instead.

Scams can be emotionally devastating for victims, and taboo remains high, especially for older people. After falling for a scam, 81% felt angry, 34% ashamed, 9% afraid, and 7% felt lonely. Even more stark, the research revealed that 40% didn’t get any help or guidance after being scammed. 

 
 

Dan Holmes, Fraud SME at Feedzai said“Fraudsters are becoming ever more sophisticated in their approaches to scam consumers. With Christmas shopping in full swing, shoppers must be vigilant and careful when shopping for deals. Only shopping at legitimate websites and checking deals that are publicised on social media and over email are from a trusted source, is the first golden rule. Don’t let a fraudster ruin your holiday season.” 

Feedzai’s top five tips on how to spot a scam

#1 It seems too good to be true

 
 

Scammers often lure shoppers with offers that seem too good to be true, such as extremely low prices on high-demand items. If a deal looks like it’s significantly better than what’s offered elsewhere, it could be a red flag. Always verify the legitimacy of the offer by checking the retailer’s official site or customer reviews.

# 2 Unusual payment methods

Scammers often ask for payment through unconventional methods, such as wire transfers or gift cards. These payment methods are difficult to trace and offer little to no protection for the buyer. Stick to secure payment options like credit cards or well-known payment processors that offer buyer protection.

# 3 Suspicious profile on social media 

If you’re shopping on social media, make sure to do your due diligence on the person. Does the person selling to you have a full profile with photos and friends? If not, it could be a red flag. It’s also good to check the location of the seller, and if they’re not based in close proximity, it could be a sign you’re dealing with a fraudster. 

# 4 Check the true sender 

Scammers will often create fake emails or texts to impersonate different brands that claim to offer exclusive deals. Be cautious of messages that ask for personal information or prompt you to click on a link to get to the deal. These could be phishing attempts designed to steal your information. Always check the full email address or phone number, as it may reveal a different sender than you’d expect.

# 5 Pressure from the seller 

Fraudsters will often pile on the pressure for you to make a purchase. They may tell you that the product is running out or the deal is only running for a limited time only. Take your time and think before making a purchase. 

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