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2016 National Retired Members Conference
17 May 2016
Carried as Amended

We have taken this heading from the title of an evidence review commissioned by Age UK, and published in April 2015. The review is seen as a way of bringing attention to this problem at a time of increasing risk and vulnerability. It is suggested that, among other things, the recent reforms to private pensions and annuities – allowing easier access to cash – will mean that higher proportions of older people will be targeted. This motion was on the agenda for last year’s Conference but had not been discussed by the time the Conference ended. We are therefore submitting it again because it is still relevant.

Fraud of all kinds: on-line, telephone, mail and ‘doorstep’ are targeted at people of all ages – and all levels of confidence and sophistication. However, this Age UK study of what is known about fraud asserts that older people are especially at risk of becoming victims because of personal circumstances such as social isolation, bereavement and cognitive impairment. Additionally, while it can be argued that it is younger people who are more likely to encounter on-line fraud; older people are (rightly) being encouraged to take advantage of what the internet can bring. The risk of on-line fraud against older people can therefore be expected to grow. When any kind of fraud happens the consequences can be severe and long-lasting – affecting physical and mental health, and impacting on financial circumstances.

Age UK is calling for better focus and co-ordination at all levels of Government and by police and other agencies, to understand more accurately the prevalence and nature of national and international fraud, and how it can be tackled. A special task force is suggested, to be set up by the Government.

This conference urges the National Retired Members Committee and the NEC to liaise with other unions, and with Age UK and other older people’s campaigning organisations such as the National Pensioners’ Convention and Scottish Pensioners’ Forum, and with Trading Standards,, to develop a more comprehensive understanding of older people’s experience of fraud and attempted fraud – and how perpetrators seem to change their tactics over time. The aim would be to ensure that all initiatives to tackle fraud address the particular vulnerabilities of older people.