Quarter of elderly targeted by scammers

Elderly woman opening the door
Elderly woman opening the doordimaberkutDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

At least a quarter of elderly people in the Netherlands have been targeted by scammers who tried to chat their way into their homes. Over a fifth of targeted people had money or other valuables stolen, according to a study by seniors' organization KBO-PCOB among 1,300 senior citizens. The organization called for measures, AD reports.

Criminals talk their way into their victims' homes, for example, by saying they are there to take the meter reading, or deliver a package, or even take a blood sample. Once inside they make an excuse to leave the victim's presence - asking to use the bathroom, for example - and quickly search the house for valuables or cash. In 7 percent of cases, violence or the threat thereof was used, according to KBO-PCOB.

Only 15 percent of seniors who fell victim to such a chat scam reported it to the police. "People blame themselves for being tricked. That is of course unjustified. They fell victim to shrewd criminals. It is very important that a report is made immediately, because scammers go around the entire area looking for the next victim", KBO-PCOB director Manon Vanderkaa said to AD.

Vandekaa called the figures "shockingly high". She called for extra measures to protect the elderly, such as making community police officers more visible and in contact with seniors. She also called on senior citizens who fall victim to scammers to report it to the police at once.