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Why does fraud increase with age?

Date: 15 May 2020

The ageing process, both physical and cognitive, is an unavoidable feature of life. Some will attempt to slow the ravages of time, either through medical science or by actively seeking mental stimulation.

But despite the best efforts of many, our minds, like an ageing computer, will slow with time and detrimentally impact upon our ability to make logical decisions or to pick the right choices.

A common feature of the ageing process is that the rate by which we can process large amounts of new information to make an informed decision becomes impaired. Therefore, it is highly likely that as we age we will also find making financial decisions based on complex information more difficult.

A world of opportunity… and complexity

This becomes particularly relevant when we consider that more recently the UK has undergone radical changes to the pensions industry. Whilst this has created more flexibility and opportunity it has also created numerous options for people to contend with.

Given that the retirement age is currently 67 and cognitive decline accelerates at 70, the ability of some to process complex pension information may be significantly impeded. This process can be made even more challenging if the person feels like they are under pressure.

Stop and Think: Stay Safe from Scams

This cognitive decline also makes older people more susceptible to financial abuse and scams.

Research by Age UK suggests the average age of fraud victims is 75, with recent figures putting the average loss at £32,000. Fraud attempts are becoming ever more sophisticated, as those aged 65 and over increasingly use the internet to handle their financial affairs.

As fraudsters become smarter and savvier, older victims are far less likely to question or query financial promotions they come across through email or online advertising.

That’s why Quilter have reacted quickly to help you and your loved ones spot fraud by developing a simple checklist.

Stay Safe from Scams checklist