Elderly losing £1m a day to a ‘tidal wave’ of scams
The party accused the Conservatives of being “asleep at the wheel” in the fight against fraud, and called for an urgent strategy to protect victims including the vulnerable and elderly from online scams.
The figures were revealed through a Freedom of Information request to Action Fraud by the Liberal Democrats.
The figures show that £1.7bn has been lost by victims aged 65 or older in the past four years. This means this age group is losing £1.2m to fraud each day.
Elderly fraud is going up
The analysis shows that elderly fraud is on the rise, jumping from 36,105 recorded cases in 2019 to 57,430 cases in 2022. Financial losses were also at a new high in 2022 – with pensioners losing nearly £460m, up 10% from £417m in 2021.
Since the beginning of 2019, more than 212,000 cases of fraud against pensioners have been logged.
Three police forces – London Metropolitan, Greater Manchester and Sussex – have seen more than £65m lost from elderly victims in that same time period. A significant number of cases could not be attributed to a single police force, amounting to 8,004 reports and more than £244m in losses.
On average, each elderly victim loses £8,314 – significantly higher than the average loss for victims of all ages. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), only 9% of fraud victims of all age groups incurred a loss of £1,000 or more.
Demands for government Fraud Strategy
The Liberal Democrats have criticised the government for “shirking its responsibility” to tackle fraud. The Home Office has failed to publish the Fraud Strategy it promised in March 2022, which replaced 2021 plans for a national Fraud Action Plan that never materialised.
The Liberal Democrats are demanding that the government urgently publish its Fraud Strategy. They are also calling for the creation of an online crime agency that would coordinate work across the country on tackling online fraud.
Alistair Carmichael MP, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson, said: “Elderly people are facing a tidal wave of scams, as callous criminals target them for their hard-earned cash. Yet too often, the despicable fraudsters who target vulnerable pensioners are being let off the hook.
“The government is asleep at the wheel in the fight against fraud, and it’s our nation’s elderly who are paying the eye-watering price.
“Conservative ministers need to finally publish their long overdue strategy to tackle fraud, including measures to protect elderly and vulnerable victims from online scams. With pensioners losing over £1m to fraud each day, the cost of delay is unacceptable.”