Scammers are the modern day hazard for older single people

Sandra Chapman
Sandra Chapman

Is it true that older singles are easier to scam?

A report this week says no less than 400,000 people In Scotland believe they have been targeted by scammers with 27 per cent of single older people responding compared to nine per cent of those who were married.

Older people are at risk of being scammed online

Older people are at risk of being scammed online

When computers first became the norm in the workplace we were always assured that our password was sacred, it could not be hacked and we quietly embraced the new technology believing everything we were told about security.

Today, of course, it’s not just computers we have to worry about but our mobiles and normal phones as well. Hacking is a world-wide hazard. Recently, on my landline I had a call from ‘HMRC’ informing me I had a problem with my income tax and needed to immediately phone a number to speak to an officer dealing with my case. I knew immediately it was a scam as I have an excellent accountant who keeps me right and he has never let me down.

This is Scams Awareness Month and I just wonder how many older people were aware of it and how they re-acted. What makes me wonder is why single older people are more at risk of scammers than married people.

Do married couples reveal to each other their mobile messages for example or do they consider them private, even from a partner? It’s my experience that husbands like to know what their wives are thinking even though they might not want to reveal what they’re thinking themselves.

My female friends concur with this so I’m not making it up. I suppose the mobile gives us the privacy we don’t have from a landline and if we had a secret lover, for example, they wouldn’t know who it was on your mobile.

The famous and rich get around this by operating two mobile phones, the sneaky little habit maybe only revealed in divorce cases or when the wife or partner accidentally finds the other phone.

There is a benefit, however, in sharing your phone messages with your other half. Mine, being a former newspaper man can spot a hoax and a scam a mile away. His former profession means he’s naturally nosey anyway.

Retirement has made him more laid back but still there is that inbuilt talent for getting to the bottom of things. He’s really good at telling cold callers where to stick their useless products – I have been known to cover my ears at the tirade.

Age hasn’t mellowed him but unfortunately it has mellowed me because I often think of the poor critters at the other end of the line who might only be doing such a rotten job to help pay the university fees or raise the money to pay the car tax. So I try to be reasonably polite, though that depends on when they ring.

On holiday this month I seemed to get an unusual number of what I would call scams on my mobile. I hear that scammers are very active in Scotland so I have an image of a little clique of people somewhere, decked out in kilts and tam-o’-shanters to keep their spirits up, operating from a safe hideaway along a Loch shore waiting for the sailing boats to come within range so that they can hack into their phones.

Of course scamming no longer is that simple. Rather, it’s an international occupation designed to take us in, the older the better because they have our information already. A very scary realisation. And to think wives, husbands and partner fear each other’s ‘privacy’ on a mobile not fully understanding there is a giant operation going on out there in cyberspace which knows everything about us.

A problem shared is a problem halved, they say, which is why any scammer trying me on will first have to deal with Himself.