Protecting vulnerable older people from financial scams

Staff from the National Centre for Post-qualifying Social Work (NCPQSW) are working collaboratively with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) to develop good practice guides and advice for professionals working with vulnerable citizens and their families/carers about responding to the risks posed by financial scams.

During the annual conference of the CTSI in Bournemouth this week Professor Keith Brown is running a workshop with Louise Baxter from the National Trading Standards Scams Team Manager entitled ‘Safeguarding, Mental Capacity and Scamming: The next Olive Cooke?

The aim is to raise awareness of the growing threat posed by a range of financial scams which target vulnerable older people including mass marketing fraud via the post, telephone and internet, as well as door step fraud.

In one sense we are all vulnerable to financial scams but citizens in the early stages of dementia who live alone are perhaps the most vulnerable. It is increasingly important that professionals working with older people become aware of the risks posed by financial scams and the Care Act (2014) explicitly mentions financial abuse as a safeguarding concern raising the profile of financial crime.

TS keith drinks receptionDuring the CTSI Conference the NCPQSW launched the updated version of the National Competency Framework for Safeguarding Adults, which is currently being developed in collaboration with Learn to Care, and partners across health, social services and trading standards. The new updated version will be available in August 2015 and enquires about purchasing copies of the framework can be made to

The NCPQSW is committed to developing research in this area and the types of questions we are interested to find out more about include:

  • Does early intervention with scam victims allow them to remain independent and living in their own homes longer than victims who receive later or no intervention?
  • How do we define a ‘victim’ more carefully than just person who responded to a mailshot.
  • What are the on-going cost to victims, knock on effect of being scammed and how can we help the most chronic victims

If you are interested in helping us focus our research in this area, please click here to complete the online questionnaire.

Dr Lee-Ann Fenge

Associate Director Employer Engagement / Deputy Director of the National Centre for Post-qualifying Social Work

Lee-Ann smallPrior to joining Bournemouth University as a lecturer in 1995, Lee-Ann worked as a social worker in a number of adult social services settings in London and Dorset. Her particular interests are in practice with older people and community care. She has undertaken a number of participatory action research projects with older people, and has published recent academic papers on participatory action research methodology, involving older service users in research, diversity and ageing, sexuality and bereavement, and the impact of the recession on older people.

For further information on the research and events being undertaken by the NCPQSW please contact:

Tel: 01202 961693          Email: