People over 55 four times more vulnerable to phone scams, Financial Ombudsman Service says

FOS: Over 55s four times more vulnerable to phone scams. Credit: PA

Figures from the financial ombudsman show that people who are aged over 55 could be as much as four times more likely to become victims of a telephone scam where fraudsters pose as a bank or the police.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) reviewed 185 phone scam cases involving "vishing" and "no hang up" frauds. It found that four out of five (80%) of the victims conned out of their cash were aged over 55 years old. One in five victims was aged over 75 years old.

The cases looked at involved total losses of up to £4.3 million. One in five (20%) people had lost between £20,000 and £49,999 and some victims had lost more than £100,000.

That anyone would target an older person to defraud them in the first place is abhorrent but we know that older people are deliberately targeted and can be especially at risk if they are living with dementia and/or cognitive decline.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK

The ombudsman service is urging people visiting relatives over the summer to highlight the risks and help prevent such scams happening.

Vishing scams involve criminals tricking people out of their savings by pretending to be from a legitimate body such as their bank or the police.

The no hang up scam is a type of vishing, where fraudsters persuade consumers that their account is at immediate risk and tell them that they need to move or withdraw their money urgently, using technical tricks on the phone line to add to the plausibility of the scam.