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Take the time to chat to and help protect elderly members of our community

Posted: Friday 14th June 2019
Blog: June

The UK has a swiftly aging population; Age UK estimates that there are currently around 12 million people aged 65 and above currently living in the UK. Sadly, there are a growing number of criminals who seek to take advantage of our senior community and exploit the fragility that comes with older age for their own financial benefit.

You could make a difference and help elderly family members and neighbours by just saying ‘hello.’ By taking the time to have a chat you can help reduce isolation, provide a chance to spot signs of abuse and reduce the likelihood of them being victims of crime.

We’ve pulled some useful information covering the main types of frauds and scams that are happening today for you to share with your family, friends, neighbours and elderly members of our communities.

Online Crime

Most people now have access to the internet so it is important to be aware of potential online risks. There are a number of ways cyber criminals can attack devices including setting up fake websites and sending emails containing malicious software.

Top tips include:

  • Be wary about posting personal information online and check privacy settings on social media
  • Ensure passwords are strong and have separate passwords for different accounts
  • Use anti-virus software on all devices and update regularly

Identify fraud

Identify fraud involves the misuse of an individual’s personal details to commit crime. Details are valuable to criminals and can be misused or sold on to others. If data is obtained by criminals it may be used to obtain credit cards or bank accounts in a person’s name and other numerous financial products.

Details can be obtained in a number of ways from letters or bank statements thrown away to information stolen from computers or mobile devices.

Top tips include:

  • Be extremely wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails or text messages purporting to be from your bank or your phone provider
  • Don’t open attachments or click on links in unexpected emails as this can lead to malicious software being downloaded onto your device
  • Review bank and credit statements for any suspicious activity

Door-to-door fraud

Door-to-door scams involve criminals knocking on your door unexpectedly offering products or services. Fraudsters convince you to pay for goods or work that is overpriced, poor quality or is not even carried out.

Criminals might try to convince you that work is urgently required and the price they are charging is fair. They might even be insistent that you pay in cash immediately, put down a deposit or find reasons for you to keep paying money.

Top tips include:

  • Always check their identity and if you are unhappy about a person’s identity do not let them in your house
  • Take time to consider your options and research costs from other providers
  • Never pay upfront for goods or services you have not received

Investment fraud

Fraudsters sometimes persuade people to invest in all kinds of products offering high rates of return, particularly over longer periods of times.

Criminals are organised and they might have details of previous investments you have made but knowing this information does not mean they are genuine.

Top tips include:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • Genuine investment companies will not cold call you. Be extremely wary of anyone who does
  • Seek independent financial advice before committing to any investment

Scam mail

Many victims of scam mail are drawn in by the thrill of a guaranteed win that involves parting with money in order to claim a prize that does not exist.

It only takes a single response to scam mail to be inundated with more. After this response, details will be added to a ‘victim’s list’ that other fraudsters have access to.

Top tips include:

  • You cannot win a competition or lottery you have not entered
  • If you are asked to pay upfront fee for such a ‘win’ do not pay
  • Be wary or anyone asking for private information
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