(MENAFN- Swissinfo) In recent years, almost 80% of people over 55 have been confronted with scams by fraudsters, a study published on Monday by Pro Senectute Switzerland reveals.
The Swiss advocacy organisation for older people estimates the annual losses to be around CHF675 million. That is two-thirds more than in the first study five years ago (CHF400 million).
+ Older people conned out of CHF400 million a year
The Covid-19 pandemic is thought to have had an influence on this trend, promoting greater use of the internet and new opportunities for fraud. Cases of cybercrime have almost doubled in the past five years and affect 52.3% of those surveyed.
Over the past five years, almost four out of five people (78.2 percent) have been confronted with an attempted fraud. While most of those affected were aware of the attempt, almost 20% of those surveyed fell victim, Pro Senectute said.
+ Swiss are easy prey for online scammers, warns report
Despite this, older population in Switzerland are particularly alert to cases of telephone fraud, says Beatrice Kübli from Swiss Crime Prevention (SKP).“But we are seeing cases of a new phenomenon,“shock calls”, which are increasing significantly.”
During a so-called“shock call”, fraudsters contact an elderly person and report that a relative has been involved in an emergency, which is why the related costs must now be pre-financed. The person concerned was immediately prepared to meet the demand for money because they feared for their relatives, says Kübli.“The fraudsters are deliberately exploiting this state of emergency.”
Those affected often knew about the phenomenon before the incident.“But in the state of emergency, people no longer think about it,” she says. A current campaign focuses on this moment of shock and encourages older people to put the phone down.
Kübli generally recommends older people not to include their full name in address directories. For example, instead of“Rosmarie”, just write“R.” In order to get the phenomenon better under control, those affected should also report it to the police, even if it was just an attempt.
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