Older people at risk of constant attempts to scam them, Causeway audience told

Eddie Lynch, Commissioner for Older People.
Eddie Lynch, Commissioner for Older People.

The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland has launched research showing that senior members of the community are at risk of constant, multiple attempts to scam them.

The report, ‘Who’s calling? Levels of cold calls and scams of older people in Northern Ireland’, was highlighted by Eddie Lynch at a meeting of the Causeway Older Active Strategic Team (COAST) in Coleraine.

Mr Lynch said: “My research has found that many older people are constantly receiving unwanted telephone calls to their home. The levels of unsolicited calls and junk mail received goes far beyond the nuisance factor; they cause fear, annoyance and anger to the older people targeted. 80% of older people have received unsolicited calls to their home, with 38% also receiving calls to their home where no one speaks at least once a week. 91% of older people also receive up to 30 pieces of junk mail every week.

“I have been concerned for some time that the targeting of older people for scams has been on the rise. These figures are really worrying as evidence shows that older people can be more vulnerable than others to the techniques that scammers use. For example if communications have an official appearance, older people may be more likely to trust the source.

“I am encouraging older people to become scam aware and to think ‘Who’s Calling?’ when taking unexpected calls. Older people are usually very courteous but they should not be afraid to hang up on unknown callers and put junk mail straight in the bin - my report helps to show some of the different types of scams that are out there. I have also joined the Scamwise NI partnership which aims to “scam-proof” older people, their families and carers.”

Visit https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/scamwiseni for more information and to report a scam.