Elderly victims of fraud more than trebled in 10 years, with over 16 per cent reporting the crime last year compared to 4.8 per cent in 2008.
The stark figures from the Crime Annual Report come in the wake of warnings by criminologist Saviour Formosa that crime is moving online, with the police having to be prepared for crimes that “have yet to be conceived” in the digital world.
Trends of online crime will continue to rise as the use of technology increases – and data showed the elderly were the most susceptible, Prof. Formosa warned.
Everyone could be lured to fake accounts, but the elderly were less likely to be technologically savvy, making them the most vulnerable, he added.
Awareness was key to reducing the likelihood of the elderly being susceptible to online organised crime, Prof. Formosa said.
Launch awareness campaigns targeting the elderly
He recommended that local councils launch awareness campaigns targeting the elderly, teaching them how to avoid suspicious links. Banks could also better guide clients on what could be done to avoid getting scammed out of their money online, Prof. Formosa recommended.
Seniors are globally often disproportionately targeted as victims of fraud, according to the American Association of Retired People.
Cases of fraud rose by more than 30 per cent over the past year as crime moved to the digital world, the crime report, published earlier this week, showed.
Reports of money-laundering also rose by over 94 per cent, from 17 cases in 2017 to 33 cases last year.
The country’s crime rate reached 15,925 offences last year – a seven-point decrease, figures from the report show.
How to avoid getting scammed
1. Review your credit card and bank statements.
2. Keep track of your financial activity.
3. Never give out information or money in reply to an email or a phone call.
4. Do not click any suspicious links.
Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.Support Us