Santander launches 'Scam Avoidance School' to help over 60s

A new Scam Avoidance School to help over 60s falling victim to fraud is being launched by Santander.

Following research among the over 60s to understand their concerns about scams and fraud, alongside input from Dr Paul Seager, Psychology Professor at Lancashire University, the Scam Avoidance School (SAS) will offer a bespoke lesson plan for over 60s in all 806 Santander branches.

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The new initiative comes after research from AgeUK revealed that 53 per cent (around five million) of those age 65+ have been targeted by scammers.

Further research by Santander also revealed that two thirds (64 per cent) of the over 60s are worried about the threat of fraud and scams with 82 per cent thinking more should be done to educate them.

Understanding the tricks

The bespoke SAS lesson plan will include interactive activities and a handout to take away to help over 60s understand scams and also cover the tricks scammers use to reel people in, how to spot email and text scams as well as covering contactless fraud and cashpoint fraud.

Chris Ainsley, Head of Fraud Strategy at Santander UK, said: “Our SAS has been developed to address the fact that more needs to be done to help older people who may be vulnerable to falling victim to fraudsters and scammers. Our research has given us important insight into what really worries them, and of course our own data provides a picture of the kind of scams that they are falling for.”

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The SAS will be available in all 806 branches across the UK from 19th March.

Ainsley added: “We believe that education and public awareness is absolutely key to tackling what is currently one of the biggest threats to the security of people’s finances. We hope that with a little bit of scam-avoidance knowledge, our O60 pupils can feel empowered to stop scammers in their tracks.”

Santander’s research also revealed £401 was the average loss by over 60s who had fallen victim to scammers, with older victims (on average) losing more than double that of younger age groups.

Banks 'need to do more'

Gareth Shaw, Which? Money Expert, also commented: “It’s positive to see Santander raising awareness of scams among vulnerable customers. But banks should also be doing much more to protect customers from such scams in the first place.

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People are still losing life-changing sums of money to bank transfer scams with no protection. So when the regulator introduces its reimbursement scheme later this year, it’s important that it properly compensates victims, particularly those who are vulnerable when they have been left out of pocket through no fault of their own.”

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