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FSA warns over-65s of financial fraudsters

The FSA is warning that people over 65 are more likely to be targeted by fraudsters and con artists, according to research by the regulator.

The FSA, in conjunction with charity Age Concern and Help the Aged, is today unveiling plans to protect older people from financial scams. The project is expected to be rolled out by autumn 2009.

The regulator says approximately 12m adult internet users in the UK have been contacted by criminals wanting them to confirm their bank details, take part in a pyramid scheme or a money transfer scam.

Half of the people surveyed did not know that their mortgage application or insurance document held enough information for it to be used to steal their identity.

More than 40 per cent of people questioned who did not know that fraudsters could use personal details in passports, driving licences and mortgage applications to steal their identity, were aged over 65.

Speaking at the consumer financial crime conference today, FSA director of financial capability Chris Pond will say: “Fraudsters, like all criminals tend to prey on the most vulnerable people and our research shows this is definitely the case with criminals who commit financial crimes. This is a clarion call to everyone that we cannot sit back and let honest people lose their hard earned money to unscrupulous individuals.

“We are delighted that Age Concern and Help the Aged have agreed to work with us on tackling this problem. Our partnership will help ensure older people are better equipped with the tools they need to protect themselves from fraud and other financial scams so the fruits of their life’s labours do not fall into the wrong hands.”

Also speaking at the conference, criminology professor Martin Gill will note that: “These findings suggest that attempts at defrauding people are more commonplace than we think.

“There is an inevitable tendency for those who deal with fraud as part of their working lives to feel that there is good knowledge out there about how people should protect themselves from fraud. However, the results highlight the need for everyone to be more vigilant so consumers don’t lose out. We do not need a recession to tell us we need to act, the evidence is already there.”

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