As Waikanae has a lot of retired folks, this is a relevant local issue. Most scams in the past have been fairly obvious, but they are becoming increasingly sophisticated. It hasn’t just been online either, many retired people lost lots of money with investments in the series of finance company collapses that were being peddled to them by unscrupulous investment brokers.
“A Wellington-based spokesman for over-65s charity Age Concern said scams targeting the elderly had increased.
“But caution was needed since three-quarters of elder abuse, including financial abuse, was committed by family members, Age Concern Wellington’s Ken Daniels said.
“It’s important to protect the free will of a mentally competent older person … but the line becomes blurred as they approach dementia and it’s incredibly difficult sometimes to intervene.”
Powers of attorney and Family Court-ordered intervention should be easier and cheaper, as long as protections were in place.
Chris Hails, a representative of Internet safety group NetSafe said because older people are online more and tend to be more trusting, they are getting scammed more often.
“For people who grew up in an era where you could leave your door unlocked, now they’re basically stepping into the Wild West.”
Five years ago the agency had 1700 scam reports a year, and now there were 700 a month.
Scammers took $40,000 on average per day, for a total this year of $12.5 million, he said.
Online scamming had increased in 2015 and was constantly evolving.