The Fraud Barometer reveals an explosion of cases in which individuals, betraying the trust of those closest to them, have targeted their own relatives. Fraud in families by one of their own grew by 384% compared to the same period last year. Elderly relatives were some of the main victims, and had £1.7 million stolen from them by younger members of the family.
Nationally, the most common perpetrator of fraud within the family was the baby boomer who, perhaps frustrated by the increasingly common wait to receive their inheritance, seemingly took matters into their own hands. By value, 72% of familial fraud was committed by fraudsters aged over 45.
“Fraudsters in the family are abusing their intimate knowledge and close connections to steal from partners and parents. People are living longer and we are seeing examples of people who are choosing to remove uncertainties about when or if they will get their inheritance by fraudulent means. It’s also likely these cases are just the tip of the iceberg – frauds of this nature often go unreported as embarrassed victims seek to ‘keep it in the family’ and ‘forgive and forget’.” explains Hitesh N Patel , Partner in Forensics, KPMG in the UK.
In one such case a woman stole her father’s savings after being granted power of attorney, leaving his care home bills unpaid. In another, a man stole his mother’s £600,000 savings after realising he was not the main recipient in her will. KPMG notes that Power of Attorney registrations have more than doubled in the last four years, with almost 350,000 registered in the financial year ending April 2015, up from 150,000 in 2011.**