• Older adults and “scams”: Evidence from the Mass Observation Archive

      Bailey, Jan; Taylor, Louise; Kingston, Paul; Watts, Geoffrey E; University of Chester
      Purpose The issue of financial abuse is highlighted the Care Act (2014). One category of financial abuse is consumer fraud or “scams”. Evidence suggests that scams are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, yet how scams impact older adults remains under-researched. This paper reports the data from 80 older adults’ written response to a Mass Observation Archive Directive, commissioned in autumn 2015, focusing on scams. Study design/methodology/approach A qualitative approach was utilised with data captured via written responses to a set of questions. There was no limit on the length of written accounts and respondents remained anonymous. Data were analysed thematically, resulting in 4 key themes. Findings The data indicated scams impact individuals in terms of health and wellbeing, irrespective of whether they have experienced financial loss, and trigger implementation of strategies intended to avoid being defrauded. There was also evidence of scam related stigma with individuals who are defrauded being subject to derision and censure. Originality/value This paper adopts an original approach to collecting rich, candid data about an under-researched topic. The authors highlight that anti-scam interventions should equip individuals to identify and avoid scams without inciting fear or anxiety; proposing this may be facilitated by drawing on health and safety risk assessment protocol when designing anti-scam interventions. Social implications Individuals who have been victimised by fraudsters may need access to practical and emotional support. This requires the design of appropriate interventions and the stigma associated with being scammed to be addressed.