Wising up against Scammers

15th June 17

Today, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. We would like to alert family carers to scammers who have targeted older, vulnerable people.

Scams are schemes to con you out of your money. They can arrive by post, phone call, text message or email, or from someone coming to your home.

Every year three million people fall victim to scams, losing an average of £850 each and sometimes a great deal more, warns Cambridgeshire County Council.

Some victims are repeatedly targeted. Yet fewer than five per cent of people report scams to the authorities.

What to look out for:

  • Common scams include claims that you have won money and it is being held in a holding company; somebody has left you an inheritance that you need to claim. A small payment in advance is asked for, followed by more and more payments with no ‘prize’ ever materialising.
  • They will appear official (that is their intention). For example, claiming to be solicitors or from the government and will use a legal and formal jargon. Letters will be addressed to you personally to make you feel special.
  • Once you have replied to one scam letter you will receive more. If you are receiving 3 letters a day offering superb prizes it is likely your details have been added to a ‘suckers list’ being shared between scammers.
  • Car matching scams are when you place an advert to sell a car and someone contacts you promising to find a buyer if you pay an upfront free.
  • Beware of conmen selling doorstep electricity meter credit offering cut-price electricity.
  • Ignore requests to pay an administration fee by conmen saying you have won a prize draw, the lottery or been left money in a will.

How do I avoid them? Age UK advises the following:

  • Never give your bank details to someone you don’t know
  • Keep personal documents in a safe and secure place
  • Don’t give out any personal information, such as bank and credit card details
  • Check your bank statements regularly and inform your bank if there are any entries you don’t recognise
  • Get your post redirected straight away if you move house

Help and support is available from the following:

  • Age UK
    They have a free guide, Avoiding Scams. To obtain a copy call 0800 678 1601.
  • Citizens Advice Bureau
    The Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline is on 03454 04 05 06
  • Think Jessica
    Supported by Trading Standards, Think Jessica aims to raise awareness of the danger of replying to deceptive mail and phone calls.
  • Action Fraud
    If you know money has been paid to a scam, report it on the Action Fraud website or call them on 0300 123 2040.
    Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime.
  • Victim Support
    The charity Victim Support gives free and confidential help to victims of crime, witnesses, their family, friends, and anyone affected across England and Wales. Everyone who reports fraud to Action Fraud is given the option to receive support from Victim Support.
  • Cambridgeshire County Council Safeguarding Adults
  • Peterborough City Council, Safeguarding Adults
  • Norfolk County Council Safeguarding Adults