Shocking toll of abuse for dementia sufferers

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HEARTLESS scammers are believed to have cheated 2,300 South Yorkshire dementia sufferers out of a massive £2 million, according to a new report by charity bosses.

The Alzheimer’s Society calculates 15 per cent of South Yorkshire’s 15,400 dementia sufferers have been victims of financial abuse such as cold calling, scam mail or mis-selling.

A new report by the charity found almost two-thirds of carers claimed to know of approaches to people with dementia by unexpected salesmen on their doorstep.

Seventy per cent were also being pestered by telephone sellers.

Some pensioners had lost thousands to rogue builders, or through scams where PIN numbers had been misused to access their bank accounts.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the charity, claimed: “We are merely scratching the surface of the frightening hidden depths of financial abuse.

“Too often con artists are dealing another body blow to people who already face high care costs and a society that fails to understand their needs.

“It’s only by working together with banks, local authorities, and the public that we can turn this around.”

The Alzheimer’s Society’s report Short Changed estimates around 950 people in Sheffield had been scammed, to the tune of £805,000.

In Rotherham the report estimates 445 people had fallen victim, losing £378,000, and in Barnsley 391 people, losing a total of £332,350.

In Doncaster it is claimed there were 530 victims who lost £450,500.

The charity wants trading standards officials and banks to do more to stop the abuse.

An Alzheimers Society spokesman for Yorkshire added: “‘Incidents of financial abuse of people with dementia aren’t just harmful on a financial level - the emotional toll from a loss of trust can be just as damaging.”