Retired people often choose not to report fraud because they are too embarrassed to tell anyone that they’ve been scammed, new research shows.
According to Barclays, four in 10 over-65s who have been scammed keep it a secret from their family as they don’t want to “cause a fuss” or worry them.
Barclays estimates five million pensioners were hit by fraudsters last year, losing an average of £817 – rising to £926 for men. Overall, that adds up £399 million lost over the past year as a result of scams.
However, keeping silent can lead to a vicious cycle, with one in four victims being scammed more than once.
The emotional impact of fraud can be profound, leaving victims less trusting, sad or depressed.
One victim, Gill Atkinson, 74, from Derbyshire, says: “I didn’t really know who to turn to after I was scammed. I felt anxious about falling for such a silly trick and felt too embarrassed to tell my family or friends.
“But I’m glad I opened up and spoke about my experience in the end. Talking really helps, and I hope this campaign will encourage more people to talk openly about scams.”
Ross Martin, head of digital safety at Barclays, says: “Scammers are trying to take advantage of older people’s reluctance to open up about these incidents, which can cause huge emotional and financial turmoil. But together we can put an end to that."
Barclays has teamed up with South London rappers Pete and Bas - two pensioners in their 70s – to release a track to encourage more people to report scams.
Barclays has these tips to fight back against the scammers:
1. Never give out your pin - No genuine bank would message you to transfer money to a different account – ignore anyone who asks you to do this.
2. Don’t hand over your money - Your bank will never visit your home address and ask you to hand over your cards, PINs and personal details.
3. Always check - If you’re not sure you’re safe or something feels unusual, remember to always check, act with care, and never share.
4. Report it - If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam, call the police and your bank straight away.