Elderly people and scams

If you look after an older person – whether it’s a friend or a family member – you’ll be aware that people with vulnerabilities can be targeted by scammers. Older people often fear being mugged, or burgled – but 90% of all crimes committed against the over 65s are fraud.

  • 90% of all crimes committed against over 65s are fraud
  • 300,000 people, over the age of 65 are victims of scammers every year in the UK
  • A third of elderly people are too ashamed to ask for help
  • In 2018, alone, 49,000 elderly people reported being scammed – the equivalent of 6 new cases every hour
  • Elderly people are 54 times more likely to be victim of computer scams than they are to be physically robbed
  • Almost 5 million people aged 65 and over believe they have been targeted by scammers
  • Equifax release infographic and advice page surrounding how to stay safe online:

Although anyone can fall victim to fraud, the elderly can sometimes be susceptible to certain vulnerabilities such as living alone, lacking familiarity on the web or even suffering from dementia. All factors can make them a likely target to scammers. So, educating the public is as crucial as ever, particularly as 90% of all crimes committed against the over 65s are fraud-related.[1]

With a quarter of over 75s using tablets and more internet users over the age of 60 than ever before[2] people between the ages of 65-74 year old’s are 54 times more likely to be a victim of computer scams that they are to be physically robbed.[3] In 2018, alone, 49,000 elderly people reported being scammed – that’s around 6 new cases every hour.[4] And 43% of people aged 65 and over – almost five million people – believe they have been targeted by scammers.[5] Scammers can use many ways to target people, including over the phone, the post, via the internet or face-to-face.

With a third of elderly people too ashamed to ask for help[6] Equifax has devised this educational infographic which offers top tips and advice to help you or a loved one stay safe online; including what you can do if you’ve been a victim of a scam and the signs to look out for if you suspect someone you know/ care for is being scammed. It’s estimated that millions of elderly people have been victims of fraud, but they haven’t reported it.  

The latest research shows that over the last 12 months, approximately 2,400 monthly average searches were made around the term ‘email scams’ compared to 1,600 searches made the previous year. [7] Searches are also increasing around the terms ‘phone scams’ and ‘tv license scams’. With curiosity growing around this topic it is important to educate the public to minimise the chances of falling victim.

The interactive infographic will sit within the Equifax ‘Knowledge Centre’ which serves as an informational hub. The Knowledge Centre covers a variety of financial categories from sorting your debts to boosting your credit score and learning how to budget, everything you need to know to keep your finances in check. You can view the full infographic here.


1 Reassure scam avoidance: https://vimeo.com/332479974

2 https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/media/media-releases/2017/rise-social-seniors

3 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-44629881

4 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45590333

Kantar TNS Research Express polling for Age UK, June/July 2017 – sample of 1,367 people aged 65+ in GB

6 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-44629881

ads.google | Keyword planner| Average monthly searches taken from the last 12 months October 2017 – September 2019

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