Identity fraud is at an all-time high, and it can have devastating consequences on a person’s life.
Victims of identity fraud may have to file for bankruptcy or deal with debt, which can sometimes cause personal relationships to suffer. Elderly people in particular are at the greatest risk of fraud out of any age group, as they tend to more trusting of phone calls, house calls and email scams. It’s my job at Experian to arm them with the tools they need to prevent identity fraud.
The number one challenge in helping prevent identity fraud is lack of awareness. People simply don’t know all the risks, so education is a paramount priority.
At Experian, we conducted research on the best way to educate different age groups, and found that it varied widely. While younger people are best reached online, older people are more responsive to face-to-face activities, which is part of the reason they are more susceptible to doorstep scams. To help educate elderly people, we found we needed to go out into the community and literally put useful information into people’s hands.
As part of these efforts, my team at Experian first worked with the Outreach Solutions organization to help older people in Nottinghamshire, England, understand the dangers of fraud.
The pilot campaign, “Tackling Fraud,” reached 15,000 U.K. residents over age 55, teaching them how to tackle the threat of fraud. We armed these individuals with expert advice on how to spot suspicious activity and stop it from happening to them or the people they care about.
Given the success and great reception we had in Nottinghamshire, it was clear that this movement could continue growing. According to Experian research, Glasgow is one of the areas with the highest number of identity fraud cases in Scotland.
We’d been testing a new television advertisement in Glasgow – marking the first time that identity fraud has ever been advertised on TV in the U.K. – so I made the case to run the next iteration of our Tackling Fraud campaign there, too.
In partnership with the Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector, we worked with a range of individuals and community groups to provide fraud prevention training to more than 30,000 elderly people in the city.\
We’re dedicated to helping the elderly with our Tackling Fraud campaign, putting people in control of their lives by giving them the information they need to help them protect themselves. I hope that one day we can take this project throughout the U.K.
Written by: Phil Rance, Director of Product Identity, Experian Consumer Services