Fraudsters target older people with investment scams

Paul Lewington
Paul Lewington

If you are over 65 and have more than £10,000 in savings then you are three and a half times more likely to fall victim to investment fraud, according to research from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

Statistics from ActionFraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, show that more than 3,000 people lost an average of £32,000 each to investment fraud last year. Those living in London, the Home Counties and the South East are most at risk.

It appears that the main reason why older people are more vulnerable to investment fraud is that the current low interest rates has encouraged them to invest in a wider range of unfamiliar types of investment products.

The FCA research reveals that more than half (53%) of the over 55s surveyed believe acting quickly can be key to getting a good deal, demonstrating how many could be vulnerable to this tactic.

A third (34%) said it is best not to discuss investment decisions with others and fewer than half (48%) said they would be likely to seek impartial advice before making an investment.

These attitudes are seized on by fraudsters, who often urge their target to keep the offer a secret.

Research for Age UK has also found that around two-fifths of older people across the UK – around five million in total – who believe they have been targeted by fraudsters didn’t report it to an official channel, and more than a fifth (22%) admitted they didn’t tell anyone because they felt too embarrassed.

The common tactics used by fraudsters include offering lucrative returns above the market rate, praising potential victims for being a knowledgeable investor, saying that the deal is only available to the target and putting them under pressure to invest in a time-limited offer.

If you think you have lost money to fraud, you should report it to ActionFraud on 0300 1232040 or online via their website.

For independent professional advice on all your investment options, contact our specialist advisers and get all the facts you need to make proper considered decisions. Call us on 01243 532161 or email info@chadneybulgin.co.uk.