A recent survey reveals that 90% of parents express serious concerns about their children and elderly parents falling victim to fraudulent activities. This group, referred to as the ‘Scamwich Generation’, believes that the risk of their loved ones being scammed has increased during the lockdown period, largely due to increased online activity over the past 18 months.
The study, which involved 2,000 adults with children under 18 and parents over 55, identified the types of fraud they consider their family members most vulnerable to. The top concerns include impersonation scams (30%), purchase scams (24%), and fraudulent invoice or mandate-related messages (19%).
The research, commissioned by Lloyds Bank, also highlighted the potential areas where children and aging parents are most likely to encounter scams. Social media (45%) and text messages (38%) were identified as the primary targets for children, while phone calls (50%) and email scams (37%) posed the greatest risks for older parents.
Philip Robinson, fraud protection director at Lloyds Bank, acknowledged the pressures faced by the ‘Scamwich Generation’, stating, “Lockdown has placed increased pressure on parents, who feel responsible for protecting their loved ones from fraud. With the rise of sophisticated scams, it’s understandable that parents are worried about their family members falling victim.”
The study also revealed a 5% increase in the number of parents concerned about their relatives falling victim to fraud compared to the previous year. Interestingly, parents are twice as likely to worry about their older parents (60%) than their own children (28%), despite younger generations being more commonly targeted by scammers.
The desire to protect loved ones and growing concerns about fraud have placed added pressure on the ‘Scamwich Generation’. Over 57% of parents feel a strong sense of responsibility for ensuring the safety of their older parents and children. However, 29% of parents have never taken any steps to prevent their family members from falling victim to scams.
Furthermore, 16% of parents lack confidence in discussing fraud, with 22% of them agreeing that guidance on initiating such conversations would be beneficial. Similarly, 22% believe that increasing their knowledge about scams would make them feel more comfortable addressing the topic.
To address these concerns, TV psychologist Honey Langcaster-James has partnered with Lloyds Bank to offer valuable advice on how parents can educate their loved ones, both young and old, about the dangers of fraud.
According to Langcaster-James, initiating conversations about challenging issues can be the most challenging part. She advises choosing the right moment when individuals are not tired or under time pressure. Additionally, setting a relaxed and confidential environment can help facilitate open discussions. Tailoring the language to fit the recipient’s understanding is crucial, using terms like ‘thieves’ stealing money instead of technical phrases such as ‘online scams’ or ‘phishing’.
Langcaster-James suggests having relevant resources, such as helpful links or helpline numbers, readily available before starting the conversation. Sharing personal experiences and vulnerabilities can also create emotional connections and demonstrate that anyone can be targeted by scammers. It is important to avoid patronizing tones or making loved ones feel small. Sharing stories from the media or the bank’s website about other people’s experiences can serve as conversation starters and help eliminate any shame associated with falling victim to scams.
Furthermore, Langcaster-James emphasizes the importance of leading by example. Young family members are more likely to learn from observing good anti-fraud practices rather than just hearing about them. While educating and raising awareness is crucial, it is important to maintain a balanced perspective and avoid excessive worrying or scaremongering. Finally, keeping the conversation ongoing and periodically checking in to see if any actions have been taken helps ensure that the advice is taken seriously.
Philip Robinson concludes, “We recognize the significant role that the ‘Scamwich Generation’ plays in the fight against fraud by protecting their family members. Lloyds Bank is committed to assisting customers in this endeavor, providing resources to educate family members about different types of fraud and offering guidance on recognizing scams. This support serves as a starting point for conversations that can keep loved ones safe.”
Sam Allcock is the CEO of PR FIRE – PR & Content Marketing Platform
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