Dementia sufferers targeted by scams
Vulnerable people suffering from dementia are the latest victims of financial abuse from con artists, says the Alzheimer's Society.
An alarming 15% of people with dementia have been targeted through cold calling, scam mail or mis-selling by salespeople on the doorstep. This works out at 112,500 people who have lost an average of £850 each.
The research shows that 62% of carers say the person they look after has been approached on the doorstep while 70% of victims have been contacted over the phone.
The research was conducted by speaking to 104 carers and 47 dementia sufferers, along with focus groups, nursing staff and social workers.
A training programme is to be set up by the charity for financial service providers such as banks and building societies to increase awareness about the condition.
It is calling for families to be more open about money matters and discuss issues like the power of attorney, which enables a person with dementia to choose someone they trust to make financial decisions on their behalf.
Stopping junk mail and unsolicited phone calls can also reduce the risk of being approached by con artists. You can do this by signing up to the Mail Preference Service (mpsonline.org.uk) and the Telephone Preference Service registers (tpsonline.org.uk).
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at Alzheimer's Society, says: "We are merely scratching the surface of the frightening hidden depths of financial abuse. Too often con artists are dealing another body blow to people who already face high care costs and a society that fails to understand their needs.
"It's only by working together with banks, local authorities, and of course the general public that we can turn this around and start the New Year with new hope."
Have you been scammed? Let the Moneywise Scam Watch team know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The practice of a dishonest salesperson misrepresenting or misleading an investor about the characteristics of a product or service. For example, selling a person with no dependants a whole-of-life policy. There have been notable mis-selling scandals in the past, including endowment policies tied to mortgages, employees persuaded to leave final salary pensions in favour of money purchase pensions (which paid large commissions to salespeople) and payment protection insurance. There is no legal definition of mis-selling; rather the Financial Services Authority (FSA) issues clarifying guidelines and hopes companies comply with them.