According to one report, people with dementia are a “rushing duck of financial exploitation” due to the failures of government, financial services and retailers.
The report, titled ‘Retail Cure’ by the International Center for Longevity and the Independent Fund for Financial Equity ABRDN, highlights multiple examples of those with dementia who set up subscriptions or discounts immediately after experiencing frequent cold calls, scam messages and incessant phone calls. In which. Request to share personal financial information.
At least 900,000 people in the UK live with dementia, a number that is estimated to rise to 1.6 million by 2040.
“Scams and scams destroy hundreds of thousands of lives each year, and we need to do more to tackle them,” said David Sinclair, CEO of the International Center for Longevity (ILCUK).
“People who find themselves victims of online and offline scams often find themselves in a vicious circle: they are added to ‘vulgar lists’ by criminal gangs and frequently targeted,” he added.
“The subscriptions and direct deductions that are tricked into creating can be for large amounts or ordinary small amounts, which are too small to catch the attention of bank employees or caregivers checking account statements.”
Fraud is the most common crime in the UK and can result in victims suffering unsustainable personal losses. More than half of the fraud is related to the internet, and according to more research by Age UK, people with dementia are particularly at risk as they can find it difficult to assess risk and manage their money, especially if they live alone.
said Jaina Engineer, director of knowledge services at the Alzheimer’s Association.
Sinclair agreed, saying, “Online scams can be particularly dangerous for people with dementia, as they can occur with little input from the person being scammed.”
“Unlike postal or phone scams that force someone to obtain financial information, online fraudsters can gain access to financial information when an individual clicks on a fake link or opens a corrupted file.
“Once someone clicks on a fraudulent link, they can download malware onto their device, which can capture data or even take control of the victim’s computer.”
Caroline Abrahams, director of philanthropy at Age UK, said scammers are “sophisticated criminals” who often seek out and target people with dementia. “Scams can have a devastating emotional and financial impact on older victims, seriously impairing their quality of life and well-being and having a very significant financial impact as well.”
But Karen Parker, head of policy at the Abrdn Financial Fairness Trust, said: “The good news is that there are things government, retailers and entertainment providers can do to make spending safer and more inclusive for people with dementia.”
Parker called on the government to convene meetings between retail and entertainment providers, regulators and dementia experts to develop a “Kitemark” system to accredit those who sign up for minimal support for people with dementia. She said this would go far beyond the dementia-friendly plan currently in place.
It added: “When it comes to financial services, the Financial Conduct Authority should require financial service providers to train staff serving in customer-facing roles in the Mental Capacity Act and the use of standing powers.”
Paul Edwards, Director of Clinical Services at Dementia UK said: “There is simply no excuse for companies not putting in place the appropriate mechanisms to protect vulnerable consumers.
We all in society have a responsibility to protect the vulnerable, including retail businesses, financial institutions and utility companies.
“Financial abuse is very common in dementia care, and we want everyone to take it seriously.”