Fraud threat continues to grow so watch out for vulnerable relatives | Personal Finance | Finance

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Online fraud is now the most common crime in the UK, with almost 6 million victims a year

The festive season brings families together and this can be the perfect opportunity to make sure everyone is aware of the growing threat fraudsters pose to their peace and prosperity. 

Mutual insurer Royal London is warning that as the fraud threat continues to grow, especially online, we all need to watch out for each other, particularly vulnerable older relatives. 

CHRISTMAS CON 

Helen Morrissey, personal finance specialist at Royal London, says as more families live further apart it is easy to miss everyday tell-tale signs of fraud: “Family visits over the festive season are an opportunity to make sure all is well and look for signs loved ones may have fallen victim to a scam.” 

Piles of post secreted away, fretting over missing deliveries and talk of high-returning investment opportunities may all be signs that family members or friends have been targeted.

However, Morrissey says fraud can be a difficult issue to broach with loved ones, who often refuse to believe they are being scammed: “Many are too embarrassed to admit what has happened to them so family members will need to be patient if they are to get the whole story.” 

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Older individuals are regularly targeted by fraudsters who see them as more susceptible


Being manipulated by fraudsters can lead to family disputes and the victim’s mental and physical health can suffer

Helen Morrissey


CRIME WAVE 

Online fraud is now the most common crime in the UK, with almost six million victims a year, according to the annual Crime Survey of England and Wales. 

Morrissey says while Britons of all ages can be targeted, older people who may be less tech-savvy or who are suffering from loneliness are particularly vulnerable, while the damage is not just financial: “Being manipulated by fraudsters can lead to family disputes and the victim’s mental and physical health can suffer.” 

One man, who asked not to be named, found that his elderly mother, who suffers from dementia, was taking out £50 a week from her bank account and sending it to postal scammers in the US, Canada, France and Eastern Europe. 

She was receiving up to 50 letters a month and had lost almost £4,000 over 18 months, until her son got Royal Mail to redirect all her mail to him. 

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More than £1 billion has been stolen from accounts…

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