An initiative to curb scams against elderly people has warned that practices such as phone frauds and doorstep crime are on the up and set to rise as the elderly population expands.
The boss of Operation Gauntlet, run by North Yorkshire County Council, said that protecting vulnerable people from scams will be a “massive challenge”.
It is estimated that the population of over 65s in the area will increase to 170,000 by 2025, following the national trend for an ageing population, which has sparked concern for an potential increase in opportunists and scam artists.
Ruth Andrews, head of investigations and safeguarding for Operation Gauntlet, estimated that 40% of fraud victims did not report crimes because they do not want to “seem stupid”.
She added that some victims did not report scams because they had dementia and were unaware they had been targeted.
She told the Northern Echo: “One of the important factors is about the amount of the loss. We might have a doorstep crime victim who has only lost £100, but the impact on them might be more severe than for someone who has lost tens of thousands on an investment fraud, but who has a lot of money left.
“In reality, we are never going to be able to deal with every case, there is too much happening, so it is a case of prioritising.”
Scams involving mobility equipment and supposed mobility companies have been on the rise in recent years.
A year ago, Ableworld warned its customers to remain vigilant after a number of incidents where cold-callers pretending to be from the dealership attempted to scam elderly people in the North Wales area.
Branches of Ableworld in Llandudno and Rhyl were reportedly informed of the cold-callers who managed to successfully scam one elderly lady.
In response, Ableworld issued advice to its customers, reiterating that it does not do any cold-calling.