New campaign launched to help protect vulnerable people from fraud

Headway, the leading authority on brain injury support, had backed a new campaign designed to improve financial services and fraud prevention for vulnerable people.

The campaign, entitled Protected by Design: New fraud protections for people at risk, has been launched by think tank Demos and consumer protection charity Cifas.

It comes after the publication of the financial Lives survey, which found evidence that adults with cognitive impairments, such as acquired brain injury (ABI), are more likely to be targeted by fraudsters than the average consumer.

The study found that people with a “limiting health condition” were almost twice as likely to have their account or debit card used without their permission. This represents around one in every 20 people with conditions such as ABI, dementia, or learning disabilities, compared to just three per cent of the general population.

Likewise, a similar number of people (five per cent) with a health condition said they have had money taken from their account in a way which involved their personal details being used without permission. This is compared to two per cent of the general population.

The report also found that some six per cent of people with a health condition said they have received a request to confirm personal details, such as bank account details or a password, compared to three per cent of the general population.

As a result, the new campaign aims to raise awareness of vulnerable people by advising friends, families and financial services providers of the heightened risk of fraud.

Backing the new campaign, Headway’s Chief Executive Peter McCabe, said:  “Managing money can be one area where effective support can make a big difference to people’s lives.

“It is important that providers of financial services realise the huge variations in people’s preferences and abilities after brain injury. No two brain injuries are the same but providing personalised financial services may help to address people’s individual needs. We are very keen to test how the recommendations from this project can work in practical terms.

“The complexities of brain injury make protecting vulnerable people from financial fraud a challenge. Effects such as impulsivity and a lack of insight are common, while the difficulties in defining mental capacity, particularly with fluctuating conditions such as brain injury where survivors are significantly affected by fatigue, are well known.”

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