Alzheimers Ripoff

Reporter: Belinda Wilkinson

It's a scam mailed right to your door....send a few dollars and you could win thousands... it's dodgy, yet thousands of people are conned..and the new target is the elderly. Frank Schaper from Alzheimers Australia says what's worse, it's patients with dementia who are most vulnerable. "Those who have some kind of cognitive impairment who might not be able to make the sorts of judgements than those who are well would make and therefore they become even more susceptible."

This is how many scam letters an elderly Perth grandmother received in just two months. "Spending half of her pension each time she gets her pension payment on scams and responding to them and being led to believe that she's close to the end of the lottery and that soon she will get that money."

An 88 year old grandmother has spent 14,000 of her pension over 6 years....but she refuses to give up because she doesn't believe it's a scam. Frank says "Her sole motive is that she can leave something behind for her children and grandchildren."

Seventy one year old Betty Thackrah doesn't have dementia.....but she can't believe she was fooled by this Euro lotto scam. "The wording is so ambiguous but there's money there for you if you send and we had to send about 50 dollars I think it was."

To combat the scammers Alzheimers Australia is launching a free education kit especially for the elderly and their carers...it's got tips on how to tell if a letter is a scam. "We've put some examples in there and say anything that looks like this is probably a scam and then some tips about what you do, the obvious one's about tossing the material in the bin."

To get a scam education kit call the Alzheimers helpline.....1800 100 500 or visit http://www.alzheimers.asn.au/