Former minister O'Rourke targeted by scammers
Former government minister Mary O'Rourke has revealed she has been targeted by fraudsters.
She was speaking out after a new survey showed a third of people say they have lost money to a fraudster, with older people the most vulnerable.
The average sum stolen from older people is €1,320.
This is far more than other age groups, according to a new FraudSmart survey from Banking and Payments Federation Ireland.
The average sum of money scammed from people is €1,005, but this rises to €1,320 among people over the age of 55.
When it comes to those between the ages of 18 and 24 the average amount they are defrauded out of is €228.
One-in-five older people is targeted at least weekly with attempts to defraud them.
Ms O'Rourke (82), who held a number of ministerial portfolios in Fianna Fáil-led governments, revealed she had been targeted by fraudsters but did not fall victim to the scams.
"I myself have been targeted by scams over the years, from calls to my landline looking to fix a problem with my computer to emails pretending to offer tax refunds.
"My advice, especially for older people, is to learn the warning signs so that you can act at the time."
The survey results have been released to coincide with Fraud Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday.
During this week, people are encouraged to "check, chat and challenge" a loved one on the issue of financial fraud scams and identity theft.
Over-55s are most likely to report fraud attempts to the authorities. Large numbers contact their bank and/or gardaí.
Almost half of older people tell family, friends and colleagues about their experience.
The survey found they are the only age group that says they do not feel embarrassed for being targeted by scammers.
Email is the mostly likely way older people are targeted, but phone calls to landlines account for nearly one in three fraud attempts among the group.