• Santander launches ‘Scam Avoidance School’, aka SAS, for over 60s (O60s) at all 806 branches across the UK
  • Research1 shows 82% of O60s want more to be done to help them avoid scammers – Age UK stats2 suggest that 53 per cent of people aged 65+ have been targeted.
  • Former Strictly Head Judge, Len Goodman, 73, becomes the first graduate of the Scam Avoidance School

Santander is to launch a new Scam Avoidance School (SAS) to help address the number of scams targeted at the over 60s. The scheme has been specially designed for this age group and will be rolled out across every one of its 806 branches during the week of the 19 March.

Following research among the O60s to understand what really worries them about scams and fraud, alongside input from Dr Paul Seager, Psychology Professor at Lancashire University, a bespoke lesson plan has been created for Santander branch staff to deliver to tens of thousands3 of O60s.

The lesson, which includes interactive activities and a handout to take away, covers the tricks scammers use to reel people in, how to spot email and text scams as well as covering contactless fraud and cashpoint fraud – areas that our research highlighted as being a real concern to O60s.

To officially launch the campaign, former Strictly Come Dancing Head Judge and arguably one of the UK’s most famous over 60s, Len Goodman, 73, has become the first alumnus of Santander’s SAS. Aside from wanting to do all he can to help other over 60s wise up to the tricks employed by scammers, Len Goodman was first to sign up to the SAS given a personal experience of fraud when his daughter-in-law lost around £16,000.

Age UK figures show 53 per cent of those age 65+ have been targeted by scammers – that’s around five million people – while Santander’s research revealed that:

- Two thirds (64 per cent) of the O60s are worried about the threat of fraud and scams with 82 per cent thinking more should be done to educate them;
- One in five O60s believe they have been approached over 10 times by scammers in the last year;
- The average lost by O60s to scammers who had fallen victim was £401. Previous research4 from Santander revealed that older victims of scams will, on average, lose more than double that of younger age groups; and
- While 95 per cent of O60s own a mobile phone and 96 per cent have a computer, around one in five avoid online banking for fear of being targeted by scammers.

    Among the 64 per cent of older people who are worried about the threat of scams, a range of factors were highlighted as making them particularly susceptible. The biggest of these were: being vulnerable because of illness or disability (74 per cent); being financially unaware (57 per cent) or; simply being on their own (37 per cent).

    Eight per cent of those that had fallen for a scam admitted that being ill at the time was to blame for letting their guard down, while 18 per cent felt that confusion using modern technology made them particularly vulnerable at the point they were scammed. Age UK figures suggest those defrauded in their own homes are 2.5 times more likely to either die or go into residential care within a year.

    Chris Ainsley, Head of Fraud Strategy at Santander’s UK, commented: “Our SAS has been developed to address the fact that more needs to be done to help older people who may be vulnerable to falling victim to fraudsters and scammers. Our research has given us important insight into what really worries them, and of course our own data provides a picture of the kind of scams that they are falling for.

    “We believe that education and public awareness is absolutely key to tackling what is currently one of the biggest threats to the security of people’s finances. We hope that with a little bit of scam-avoidance knowledge, our O60 pupils can feel empowered to stop scammers in their tracks.”

    Len Goodman, Santander SAS alumnus, said: “It seems like scammers and fraudsters are everywhere today, using all kinds of sneaky tricks to scam us over 60s – whether it’s with emails, cold calls or even at the cash machine. But enough is enough. People of my age – we’ve got to have our wits about us, be more aware and more alert to scams so we can quickstep our way around the dangers and keep our bank accounts safe. The Scam Avoidance School was a real eye-opener for me: I learned a lot about how to avoid scams and I want to pass on this knowledge to as many people as I can.”

    After waltzing his way through the Scam Avoidance School, Len Goodman stepped back in front of the camera to pass on some of what he learned to the nation. His series of ‘Len’s Learns’ can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/258957407

    Additional facts from Santander’s research:

    • 65 per cent believe they are more likely to get targeted by fraudsters than a younger tech savvier generation;
    • For those who have become a victim of scams, around one in three (31 per cent) didn’t report it because they didn’t know who to report it to;
    • Being told to act urgently (13 per cent), offered a reward to sign up (8 per cent), or being convinced verbally that the communication was genuine (10 per cent) were ways the scammers duped those researched; and
    • Those in the North East are most likely to have been targeted in the last year with 25 per cent reporting they had been approached 10 or more times while those in the East Midlands are most worried about being targeted.

    - Ends -

    The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

    Notes to Editors:

    Top Tips from Dr Paul Seager, fraud expert and psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire:

    • Telephone Scams - If you’re unsure about a phone call (e.g. is it genuine and should you give out the details the caller is asking for?), then it’s always OK to hang-up. It’s not being rude, it’s being safe! 
    • Don’t let your curiosity/ego get the better of you - Don’t play along with somebody you suspect is trying to scam you, thinking that you can outwit them. Scammers are dangerous people, and they can pull you in without you realising what is happening. Just say ‘no’, and walk away.
    • Be cautious in revealing personal details - Never give personal or security information to someone who contacts you out of the blue, either online, on the phone or face to face. 
    • When in doubt about something, delay and seek a second opinion - If someone makes you an offer, and tries to pressure you into a decision, ask for time to consider and seek a second opinion from someone you trust. Better to miss a so-called ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ than become a victim of a scam.
    • Everyone can fall for a scam - Don’t think that you are immune to being scammed, or that it can’t happen to you (this is a dangerous self-serving bias). It can! However, don’t be afraid, just be aware.

    Research undertaken by OnePoll on behalf of Santander UK in November 2017. The sample was 1,000 British adults aged 60+

    2 TNS Research Express polling for Age UK, June/ July 2017 – sample of 1,367 people aged 65+ in GB

    3 Estimate based on average numbers booked in at each branch for SAS as of 7 March 2018.

    Research undertaken by OnePoll on behalf of Santander UK in September 2017. The sample was 2,000 British adults aged 18 – 55+.

    About Us

    Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 31 December 2017, the bank serves around 14 million active customers with c19,500 employees and operates through 806 branches (which includes 61 university branches) and 64 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

    Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas, and is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization. At the end of 2017, Banco Santander had EUR 986 billion in customer funds (deposits and mutual funds), 133 million customers, 13,700 branches and 200,000 employees. Banco Santander made attributable profit of EUR 6,619 million in 2017, an increase of 7% compared to the previous year.

    Media Enquiries
    Miranda Seymour      T:020 7756 4189      M:07860 857 999      E:miranda.seymour@santander.co.uk 
    Cecilia Cran      T: 020 7756 4209      M: 07789 651947      E: cecilia.cran@santander.co.uk  
    The press office operates from 8.00am to 6.00pm. Outside of these hours please call 0800 5877708.