Pension scams: not quite there yet


From medieval conmen persuading people to hand over hard cash for worthless ‘holy relics’, to Charles Ponzi promising amazing returns on the back of earlier victims’ money,  fraudsters have always been with us and probably always will be. While this is all too true, we can make life a lot tougher for fraudsters – but we need to move rather faster than we have done to date. Continue reading “Pension scams: not quite there yet”

It’s never been more important for older people to act on cyber security

This blog was contributed by Peter Wilson, Deputy Director for The Office for Security and Counter Terrorism and Head of Unit for RICU (Research Information and Communications Unit), in the Home Office. 

As we spend more and more time online – emailing friends, Skyping family, banking online – we need to think more about cyber security. It’s second nature for us to lock our doors when we go out and about – so why don’t we always take the same approaches to online security? A security breach online is not just something that happens to big businesses or celebrities. It can happen to anyone. In fact, recent reports suggest older people are increasingly at risk of cyber fraud, with more than a million older people duped by email scammers in the UK. Continue reading “It’s never been more important for older people to act on cyber security”

How fraudsters use time pressure to succeed in their scams

When John transferred the money, he thought he’d got a great deal. In the current market, deciding what to do with his pension lump sum hadn’t been easy, but this investment opportunity had come just at the right time and the promised returns looked great. It was only when his building society contacted him that he had second thoughts…

Continue reading “How fraudsters use time pressure to succeed in their scams”

Scams – time to tackle an urgent problem


Over half (53%) of people aged 65+ believe they’ve been targeted by a scam, as revealed by an Age UK poll. This means a staggering 5.7 million people could be at risk.

And the scale of problem is probably even worse due to under-reporting – over 60% of people who received a scam didn’t report it to anyone.

Not everyone responded to attempted scams but of those who did 70% lost money. A third of older people who did respond may have lost £1,000 or more.

These alarming figures – from our new evidence review – come as new pension freedoms take effect. Many people over 55 now have access to pension savings worth tens of thousands of pounds and fraudsters will target them. Continue reading “Scams – time to tackle an urgent problem”

Guest blog – Jo Swinson MP

This guest blog was contributed by Jo Swinson MP, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs.

Despite the excellent work carried out by Trading Standards and other enforcers, far too many rogue traders still get away without paying any money back to their victims. As the Consumer Minister I was shocked to find out that more than 60% of us have been targeted by misleading and aggressive sales practices at some point. And as more of us get wise to their practices and scams they are happy to turn their attention to easier targets, the most vulnerable and elderly in society.

Jo Swinson MP, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs
Jo Swinson MP, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs

While the vast majority of traders are trustworthy, all too often we hear stories of elderly people being targeted in their own homes by unscrupulous traders. Search online ‘Elderly Scams’ and you get thousands of news stories from all over the country. It can be heartbreaking for families to find that their elderly relative has fallen victim to a rogue trader who pressurised them or misled them into signing up to a completely inappropriate deal that cost over the odds. Continue reading “Guest blog – Jo Swinson MP”