Starting the conversation
The research that Re-engage conducted in partnership with AVIVA and the University of Portsmouth shows that over two thirds of our older people have experienced attempted scams and 8.3% were actually victims. The result has been that many older people are limiting their activities because they fear scams.
Although conversations are important to have, initiating them might feel uncomfortable and we certainly don’t want to cause alarm. The purpose of a conversation is not to train or lecture, but to encourage regular, two-way informal communication.
Before starting any conversation about scams and fraud with older people, don’t forget to complete the FAS training so that you feel confident and have the most up to date information.
When you are ready, you could start the conversation by:
- Sharing a story about a scam that you have heard or read about in the news. Here are some stories that you can use to help you.
- Talking about the article published in our autumn 2022 issue of Time Together.
- Asking and encouraging the older person to take a scams and fraud quiz with you.
Once you have started the conversation, let it flow naturally. There’s no need to complicate things or overwhelm the older person with statistics and facts, unless they ask for them.
After having an initial casual conversation, it becomes easier to bring up and to revisit the topic again. Sadly, there is a lot of shame around scams and fraud so it may take several conversations before an older person has built up enough trust to talk about their experiences. By listening carefully, we can often learn more about a person from what they don’t say.
The most important thing to remember is to ask the older person what they think about the information being shared with them about scams. If they have been a victim of a scam, it’s important to reassure them that they’re not alone.