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Personal Finance

Those over 55 losing the most money to fraudsters, according to new survey

Conor Dever

Conor Dever

Staff Writer

An average of €1,320 stolen by fraudsters from those over 55.

The average amount of cash stolen in Ireland by fraudsters is said to be €1,005, that's according to a new FraudSMART survey from the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) today. 

That average is much higher among the older generation though, where it rises to €1,320 among people aged over 55, which is almost six times the amount stolen from young adults aged 18-24, which totalled €228. 

On average, a third (33%) of Irish people say they have lost money to a fraudster.

The report was released this week to mark Fraud Awareness Week which runs this week with the aim of shedding light on fraudulent activities and to encourage people to ‘check, chat and challenge’ a loved one on the issue of financial fraud scams and identity theft, especially our youngest, oldest and most vulnerable family and friends.

Key findings 

  • One in five (22%) older people are targeted at least weekly by attempts to defraud them, making them just as likely to be targeted as young adults, underscoring the fact that fraud can and does happen at any age.
  • Over 55s are most likely to report fraud attempts to the authorities, with 38% contacting their bank and/or the Gardai. This compares to just 14% of young adults aged 18-24. 
  • Almost half (45%) of older people make a point of telling family, friends and colleagues about their experience. 
  • Older people are most likely to be targeted via email (37%)
  • Phone calls to landlines accounted for nearly one in three (28%) fraud attempts among the group.
  • However, over 55s were slowest of all age groups to realise when money or personal details had been stolen. On average, one-third (37%) of Irish people notice within 24 hours compared to just one in four (26%) older people within the same timeframe.

Commenting on the survey results Niamh Davenport, who leads the BPFI FraudSMART programme, said: “Our FraudSMART survey still shows reluctance among some older people to ask a family or friend for a second opinion if something looks suspicious. That’s what Fraud Awareness Week 2019 is all about – having the conversation." 

“We all know someone who has been scammed, young or old, but it’s only by checking with each other that it becomes easier to spot the trends and tell-tale signs of fraudsters at work. It’s one thing to know the signs yourself, but it’s much more powerful to help those you love understand them too.”

Former Government Minister Mary O’Rourke, who is helping launch Fraud Awareness Week said: “I myself have been targeted by scams over the years, from calls to my landline looking to fix a problem with my computer to emails pretending to offer tax refunds. My advice, especially for older people, is to learn the warning signs so that you can act at the time.”

Events

If you want to make sure you or your loved ones have all of the information necessary to combat fraud, there are a series of seminars taking place this week and next across the country to help raise awareness. 

LOCATION

DATE

VENUE

TIME

DUBLIN

23rd September 2019

BPFI, Floor 3, One Molesworth Street, Dublin 2

11am

CORK

26th September 2019

River Lee Hotel, Western Road, Cork City

11am

WEXFORD

4th October 2019

Talbot Hotel, The Quay, Whitewell, Wexford

11am

ATHLONE

7th October 2019

Radisson Hotel, Northgate Street, Athlone

11am

SLIGO

8th October 2019

Clayton Hotel, Clarion Road, Ballinode, Sligo

11am

Walk-ins welcome but registering in advance is recommended by emailing RSVP@fraudsmart.ie with your name and preferred location.

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