The party accused the Conservatives of being “asleep at the wheel” in the fight against fraud, and called for an urgent strategy to protect victims including the vulnerable and elderly from online scams.
The figures were revealed through a Freedom of Information request by the Welsh Liberal Democrats to Action Fraud, covering all fraud cases where the victim was 65 or older over the past four years. They show a staggering £51.2 million has been lost in total, meaning over-65s across Wales are losing £35,087 to fraud each day.
The analysis shows that elderly fraud is on the rise, jumping from 1,847 recorded cases in 2019 up to 3,366 cases in 2022. Financial losses were also at a new high in 2022 - with pensioners losing nearly £16.5 million, up from £6.8 million in 2021.
Since the beginning of 2019, more than 12,000 cases of fraud against pensioners have been logged in Wales.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised the Conservative Government for shirking its responsibility to tackle fraud. The Home Office has failed to publish the Fraud Strategy it promised in March 2022, which replaced 2021 plans for a national Fraud Action Plan that never materialised.
The party is demanding that the Government urgently publish its Fraud Strategy after months of delays. They are also calling for the creation of an Online Crime Agency that would coordinate work across the country on tackling online fraud.
Commenting on the shocking figures, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:
“Elderly people across Wales are facing a tidal wave of scams, as callous criminals target them for their hard-earned cash. Yet too often, the despicable fraudsters who target vulnerable pensioners are being let off the hook.
“The UK Conservative Government is asleep at the wheel in the fight against fraud, and it’s our nation's elderly who are paying the eye-watering price. Conservative ministers need to finally publish their long overdue strategy to tackle fraud, including measures to protect elderly and vulnerable victims from online scams.”
“People need to know that if they have been a victim of fraud, they can go to the police and their case will be investigated. Right now, with these sky-high rates, many may see this as a hopeless exercise.”
“With pensioners in Wales losing over £35,000 to fraud each day, the cost of delay is unacceptable.”