One third of Irish people say they have lost money to a fraudster, a new survey from Banking & Payments Federation Ireland reveals.

Today's survey shows that the average sum of money stolen in Ireland by fraudsters is €1,005.

But that figure rises to €1,320 among older people aged over 55 and is almost six times the amount stolen from young adults aged 18-24, which totalled €228.

The BPFI survey comes as the Fraud Awareness Week gets under way from today until 29 September.

People are being encouraged to "check, chat and challenge" a loved one this week on the issue of financial fraud scams and identity theft, especially the youngest, oldest and most vulnerable family and friends.

The survey shows that 22% of older people are targeted at least weekly by attempts to defraud them.

It also reveals that over 55s are most likely to report fraud attempts to the authorities, with 38% contacting their bank and/or gardaí.

This compares to just 14% of adults aged 18-24.

45% of older people also make a point of telling family, friends and colleagues about their experience and - significantly - they are the only age group not to report feeling embarrassed for being targeted by scammers in the first place.

Older people are most likely to be targeted via email (37%), but phone calls to landlines accounted for 28% of fraud attempts among the group.

The survey found that 13% said they had got rid of their landline or changed their phone number to help combat the issue.

While calls to mobiles (20%) and text messages (9%) are also an issue, older people are no more susceptible than any other age group to fraud committed by a person calling to the door at just 3%.

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But over 55s were the slowest of all age groups to realise when money or personal details had been stolen. 

On average, 37% of Irish people noticed within 24 hours compared to just 26% of older people within the same timeframe. 

Despite this older people reported taking more proactive measures to protect themselves from fraud online and in person and 68% now keep a closer eye on their bank account compared to younger adults at 42%. 

The survey found that 36% now say they regularly change passwords on email and online accounts compared to just 18% of younger people.

Niamh Davenport, who leads the BPFI FraudSMART programme, said today's survey still shows reluctance among some older people to ask a family or friend for a second opinion if something looks suspicious. 

"We all know someone who has been scammed, young or old, but it's only by checking with each other that it becomes easier to spot the trends and tell-tale signs of fraudsters at work," Ms Davenport said. 

"It's one thing to know the signs yourself, but it's much more powerful to help those you love understand them too," she added.