One in five over 60s believe they’ve been approached over 10 times by scammers in the last year, according to a worrying survey carried out by Santander.
The bank found that the average amount lost by over 60s who had fallen victim to scams was £401.
Two thirds (64%) of those surveyed were worried about the threat of fraud and scams with 82% thinking more should be done to educate them.
To help combat this issue, Santander is launching a ‘Scam Avoidance School’ created alongside Dr Paul Seager, a fraud expert and psychology professor at Lancashire University.
Sessions will run at all 806 Santander branches, with most running next week. Individual branches may set their own timetables so contact your local branch to check.
These free sessions will last roughly an hour with refreshments provided and they’re open to anyone aged 60 or over – you don’t need to be a Santander customer.
Chris Ainsley, head of fraud strategy at Santander UK, comments: “We believe that education and public awareness is absolutely key to tackling what is currently one of the biggest threats to the security of people’s finances. We hope that with a little bit of scam-avoidance knowledge, our over 60 pupils can feel empowered to stop scammers in their tracks.”
Former Strictly Come Dancing head judge, Len Goodman – who has become the first alumnus of the school – adds: “It seems like scammers and fraudsters are everywhere today, using all kinds of sneaky tricks to scam us over 60s – whether it’s with emails, cold calls or even at the cash machine. But enough is enough.
“People of my age – we’ve got to have our wits about us, be more aware and more alert to scams so we can quickstep our way around the dangers and keep our bank accounts safe. The Scam Avoidance School was a real eye-opener for me: I learned a lot about how to avoid scams and I want to pass on this knowledge to as many people as I can.”
But Gareth Shaw, money expert at consumer group Which?, says banks should be doing even more to protect customers fromf fraud. He says: “It’s positive to see Santander raising awareness of scams among vulnerable customers. But banks should also be doing much more to protect customers from such scams in the first place.
“People are still losing life-changing sums of money to bank transfer scams with no protection. So when the regulator introduces its reimbursement scheme later this year, it’s important that it properly compensates victims, particularly those who are vulnerable when they have been left out of pocket through no fault of their own.”
Top tips to avoid scams
Dr Seager’s top tips for avoiding scams:
- Telephone scams - If you’re unsure about a phone call, then it’s always ok to hang-up. It’s not being rude, it’s being safe.
- Don’t let your curiosity/ego get the better of you - Don’t play along with somebody you suspect is trying to scam you, thinking that you can outwit them. Scammers are dangerous people, and they can pull you in without you realising what is happening. Just say ‘no’, and walk away.
- Be cautious in revealing personal details - Never give personal or security information to someone who contacts you out of the blue, either online, on the phone or face to face.
- When in doubt about something, delay and seek a second opinion - If someone makes you an offer, and tries to pressure you into a decision, ask for time to consider and seek a second opinion from someone you trust.
- Everyone can fall for a scam - Don’t think that you are immune to being scammed, or that it can’t happen to you. It can. However, don’t be afraid, just be aware.