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Phone fraud – Over 55s more likely to become victims

A recent study conducted by the Financial Ombudsman has revealed that people aged 55 years and over are more likely to become victims of phone fraud. This is when fraudsters pose as a bank or the police and request bank details to be given over the phone.

The study, which reviewed 200 phone scam cases involving ‘vishing’ or a ‘no-hang up’ scam, has found that 80% of those who were tricked out of their cash were over the age of 55 years old. One in five victims was aged over 75 years old.

The cases that were looked at within the report covered losses of over £4 million, 38% of people had lost between £5,000 and £14,999, 20% between £20,000 and £49,999, and some more than £100,000.

The shocking results from this report have led the ombudsman to urge people visiting relatives over the summer holidays to highlight the risks and support those who are unsure of how to prevent such scams happening.

Vishing scams involve the fraudsters tricking the recipient out of their savings by pretending to be from an official organisation such as a bank or the police. The ‘no-hang up’ scam, which is similar to vishing, involves persuasion tactics by advising the vulnerable that their account is at immediate risk and advises them to withdraw their money urgently. Sometimes fraudsters stay on the phone even after the call has finished, so when the victim puts the phone down and tries to call their bank, they are unaware that they are still talking to the fraudster.

Last year scams such as these cost customers £24 million according to Financial Fraud Action.

However, it has also been found that victims cannot always rely on their bank to compensate them. The report ruled that the bank was liable for those losses in only 37% of the cases, which results in 63% of them being left without compensation.

Chief ombudsman, Caroline Wayman, said: "We really want to share what we are seeing in the complaints we handle, and encourage people to get talking about scams with their friends and relatives so they become more alert to the risks."

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