While elderly Australians are becoming increasingly reliant on technology for many aspects of their life, it’s important to be aware of potential scammers.
Last year, Australians aged over 55 lost $21 million to scammers mainly through online dating and investment scams. Scammers target older Australians, including those receiving elderly care, as they are thought to be more vulnerable to such scams.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Deputy Head, Delia Rickard says these scams pose a significant risk for Australians looking for investment opportunities, especially those looking to grow their retirement funds.
“Investment scams can come in many guises including business ventures, superannuation schemes, managed funds and the sale or purchase of shares or property,” she says.
“Scammers dress up ‘opportunities’ with professional looking brochures and websites to mask their fraudulent operations and trick unsuspecting elderly Australians.
What can you do to prevent being scammed?
She says before parting with any money, do your own research on the investment company and check they have an Australian Financial Services Licence on the Australian Security and Investment Commission’s (ASIC) MoneySmart website.
“Don’t let anyone pressure you into making decisions about your money or investments,” she says.
Ms Rickard says dating and romance scams take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media.
“Scammers spend months and even years establishing a relationship with their victims before making up a reason they need to ‘borrow’ money, such as medical emergencies or travel expenses,” she says.
“Never send money to someone you have met online – chances are you will be left with a broken heart and an empty bank account.
“Cease contact with anyone that asks for money, no matter how you feel about them,” she says.
NSW Fair Trading says there are many resources available to them if they become involved in a scam.
NSW Fair Trading suggests that Australian seniors take the following precautions to avoid getting caught up in deceitful scams:
- Do not let anyone pressure you into making on-the-spot decisions. Scammers will often try to create a sense of urgency and threaten consumers with legal action or fake emergencies to trick the consumer into complying with the scam.
- Get a second opinion. If you have doubts, run the situation by a reliable third party before parting with any money or signing anything.
- Do not respond to e-mails from an unknown address and do not send money to anyone via e-mail or allow them to access your computer.
- Government agencies are most likely to send you a letter if you are entitled to money. If you receive a phone call offering you money it is most likely a scam.
- If you have not entered a competition then you probably have not won a prize.
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About Oxley Home Care
Oxley Home Care provides Dementia Care, Private Care, Home Care, Nursing, Veterans Home Care and Allied Health to enable people to live a quality life independently in their own home and stay connected to their local community.
Oxley Home Care is an Approved Provider of Home Care Packages funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing and holds an allocation of Home Care Packages. These packages are designed to provide assistance to the elderly, to remain living independently at home. To gain access to a Home Care Package, the government requires that you undergo a comprehensive assessment by your local Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). To arrange the assessment, contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or visit the My Aged Care web site
If you would like further information on Oxley Home Care, please feel free to call us on 1300 993 591.